Helena is interested in little things, and she certainly isn’t the first. There were those Cottingly children who were made famous by photographing fairies at the bottom of their garden, there are those Irish little people… trolls… Tom thumb, Minpins, the Borrowers, the Slimtails (mice that live and talk like people)…etc. I am sure that children have been imagining what it would be like to be tiny since the age they could conceptualise such a thing. Think of how well those Sylvanians sell, or dolls houses, what about all that paraphernalia for dolls, the endless polymer clay stuff Helena makes. Is it just because they are little compared to adults that they imagine an even smaller world? Is it that nature provides things like acorns that set them off imagining little plates or hats? We’ve had books out of the library to see how others make such things… hours and hours of her time, making, thinking about, playing games with little people/Sylvanians etc.
But what if it’s developmentally important, that they aid in that transition from tactile to conceptual, in a way that we totally accept and even expect with say numeracy… having those hands on bits to move around for numeracy is so important. What if this is the relationship version, this is how children build empathy with their hands. Maybe we shouldn’t ever be telling anyone, especially teenagers, they are too old for dolls (Sylvanians/animal characters etc) but letting them go back to first principles, giving them the actual hands on play. Is this why councilor use dolls? Not reenactment but for the same reason I had to use little scraps of paper to move about while I was thinking about adding, subtracting, multiplying negative numbers because it helped me understand. I wonder if it’s a way of learning about children’s misconceptions?