Preserve our Oceans and Coastal Habitats

Picture Book author, Kim Toft, a former Prep teacher, had some 120 preps to year 2 following her every move. She uses silk painting to illustrate the preservation of our oceans and coastal habitats. Her vibrant colours reflect her subjects which are incredibly realistic. Toft performed her cautionary tale ‘One Less Fish’ in song and dance. Her clever use of alliteration and counting had students call out the number of fish left unprotected.

Students learned the jump, jiggle, be jolly and jostle dance where they acted out the ocean’s underwater world. Many hands flew up when she asked what letter the words started with, which represented an ocean creature often affected by plastic bags.

Toft treated her students to a silk painting demonstration on an Angel fish Gold Gutta outline. She showed how the orange and yellow dyes didn’t run past the Gutta outline because the gold Resist acted as a barrier. Her books’ silk paintings illustrations can take up to 2 years, but her time-lapse video of one painting had students mesmerised as it sped up the process to less than 3 minutes.

Her ‘Coral Sea Dreaming’ is an educational resource for the whole of primary, with a picture book at the beginning, followed by an information text on Coral Reefs’ rich ecosystems which provide shelter and food for its marine life. Needless to say teachers and parents headed for the bookshop after her presentation.

Toft left the students with this advice, ‘If you practise, practise, practise, one day you’ll be able to paint pictures and write stories too.’

Maria Parenti-Baldey, primary teacher, writer, amateur photographer and blogger.

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