A colourful start to the school day

Over the past six years SDC’s Colour Experience team have been actively developing a very successful programme of educational activities for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 (up to seven years old). As part of this development we are continually looking for innovative ideas to engage young children. When we were approached by SDC member Malcolm Campbell CCol FSDC to link in to his involvement in a programme for the children’s BBC channel we were naturally very keen to work together.

Malcolm The Weaver

First edition in a series of children’s books

Malcolm was asked by the BBC to appear in a programme entitled “Weaver” with his twins Aidan and Zoe for the series My Story. This is the CBeebies pre-school history series in which children discover their family’s history through fun, adventure and play. Malcolm took the twins to the Isle of Lewis, in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, and told them all about his life in the textile industry, in particular his involvement with Harris Tweed. The programme looked at how the yarns are coloured and woven into cloth and the rich heritage surrounding the industry. The programme is available to view on SDC’s YouTube channel.

Alongside the programme Malcolm has written a series of children’s books featuring the character Malcolm the Weaver and SDC has published the first of these under the title Weaver of a Life in Colour.

Primary Schools

Malcolm at New Park Primary School

As part of the promotion for the book and to extend the educational engagement, Malcolm has been visiting primary schools giving readings and talks about the book.

In the Autumn term, Malcolm visited New Park Primary School in Harrogate. Two teachers at the school, Sam Williams and Jan Cliff, wrote to Malcolm to update him as to how his visit has inspired the pupils at the school and furthered their learning of colour and textiles.  Here’s what they said:

Firstly, may we sincerely thank you for visiting our school and giving up your time to help launch our ‘Wonderful Weaving’ topic for this half term. The children in Year 1 and 2 thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and having the opportunity to ask you questions about weaving and the work that you do. They were inspired by your book and have chosen to read it in their free time.

I thought we would update you with some of the learning and activities which have taken place since your visit.

The children showed an interest in the way in which wool was dyed in the past using fruits etc. so initially we took them on a local walk to try and identify things in the environment which could be used. We crushed a few berries which they loved!

Primary Colours

Mixing Primary Colours to make Secondary Colours

Sticking with the colour theme, we then explored ways of making and mixing different colours using paint and they learned how to mix primary colours to make secondary colours.

Following on from this the children then tried weaving with paper and on looms with a particular focus of choosing colours carefully to either contrast or blend. This then led to the children trying to design their own ‘New Park’ tartan using the school’s blue, red and yellow colours. This was tricky but we found a tartan design template which helped!

Within science the children have explored and investigated the properties of different materials and we linked this to weaving by sorting and choosing material which can be used to weave and explaining why.


Colouring in for “Weaver of a Life in Colour”

The children tried their very best colouring in for the ‘Weaver of a Life in Colour’ competition and are looking forward to seeing if we have any winners!

We certainly think that there will be more opportunities to develop this topic further next term.

Once again we thank you for your time and expertise.

Please visit www.malcolmtheweaver.com to find out more about the book and to download colour activities.  And we have a host of colour resources available on our website. We have a second book in production at the moment, and this will be available shortly.

The book is priced at £12.99 and is available from SDC’s online shop, or you can email sales@sdc.org.uk.

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