Connection is proving to be the common thread in a fashionable new project at Carlton North.

Koo-Koo Couture was created in the Kookaburra Room as a result of the children’s play with different materials and curiosity about how clothes are made.

Early Childhood Teacher Molly Petruccelle says the excitement of connecting with community was at the forefront of the project. “We began by organising an excursion to Lincraft, in the Bourke St Mall,” Molly says. “At Lincraft, the children had many opportunities to explore different fabrics and ask questions. They were incredibly curious about the mannequins in store, and they were inspired seeing how fabrics can be made into any piece of clothing.”

An email was sent out to families in the hope they would collaborate and share their expertise, knowledge, interest and material donations. “We had many responses from families eager to contribute anything that would support the children’s ongoing exploration,” Molly says. “One family even brought their grandparents to pick-up one day so they could donate materials themselves.”

Marigold’s mum, Sarah, was another family member who was so excited about the project, she organised to visit the group and share her expertise in materials.

Sarah says she jumped at the chance to renew her connection with the Gowrie community, feeling it had been lost during the pandemic years. “I took it for granted, before, that the other kids knew who I was and how we fit together as a community,” Sarah says. “I also forget how mysterious the world of grown-ups is to little kids and how important even small windows are for learning and understanding who is around them.”

The project also allowed the children to collaborate with other areas of the Gowrie teaching community. “Children wrote a letter to Assistant Manager Lyndsay, asking her to meet with us and teach us how to use a sewing machine,” Molly says.

A casual educator spent an entire day designing and making things with children and teaching them to hand sew. Meanwhile, Magpie Room teacher Laila found a mannequin in an op-shop and named him Spencer. She even shared a story with the children in both classrooms about how Spencer travelled from the op-shop to Koo-Koo Couture, supporting a further connection between the two groups so they could engage with the play space together.

“Since the beginning of this project, it has felt like everything has connected,” Molly says. “It has been so exciting to watch how families and our Gowrie community have come together to celebrate Koo-Koo Couture and offer many different opportunities for children to enhance their sense of wonder and love for creativity.”