- Spotlight on Little Wonders
In their exploration of sea shells with the children, the teachers created a beach themed provocation that included a colorful canopy, sand, water, plants, wood and lots of sea shells! For this activity the teachers wanted the children to experience exploring with sea shells in a fun way that many of us are familiar in doing so-by the beach! Continue reading
One week the children participated in the light photography project. These pictures will not only update the class mural, but will showcase a piece of our ongoing study of light with the children. Continue reading
For this provocation we took our light exploration outdoors. We invited children to come explore light reflection using the natural sunlight and small round mirrors. We set up a small tent with mirrors inside as an invitation for them to come out and explore. As the children entered, the teacher was able to catch the sunlight onto the mirrors and reflect it into the tent and even as far back as into the classroom. Continue reading
In our efforts to have the infants participate in the gardening experience like the other classes in the school are doing this month, we provided them with the plants and accessories for gardening to stimulate their senses. These plants and accessories were selected on the basis that they would provide experiences for seeing, hearing, touching, and smelling. We wanted to encourage the children to interact with the plants and enjoy their textures, smells and color.
In our first observation we saw that children were very interested in scooping handfuls of the dirt and then slapping it back down on the table. After studying the colorful flowers carefully, they started to then pull them down from the table to explore more closely. Pulling each leaf and petal apart from the stem seemed to be the theme of this exploration for all the children. They were really fascinated with their textures. Even interested in the sound of the plastic container in which they came in, they would squeeze it repeatedly in their hands, listening to its crackly sound. Others enjoyed banging the small hand shovels on the ceramic pots.
This sensory experience is beneficial for the toddlers because it not only engaged the children to use their senses, but allowed them to be aware that they were using their senses to observe and absorb new information. This provides a foundation for future learning endeavors because the toddlers now have the confidence of their ability to explore and learn through their senses freely.
Keeping with our light study, we also made mirrors one of the accessories of this garden experience. Light and shadow are often overlooked, but are visually important sensory garden elements. Using the mirrors enhanced the visual pleasure of the colorful flowers, making this outdoor experience an amazing one for the children!
“I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.” -David Hobson
The infants were provided with two provocations using lemons one week. The teachers set out a water tub and placed the lemon peels inside with just enough water for them to splash with their little hands. It wasn’t long before they were at the tub investigating the peels and waving them around in the water.
We chose a paint pallet inspired by the lemon; a bright yellow color, neon yellow and some white paint. Only the lemon peels were used; the teacher first sliced the fresh lemons in half then scooped out the inside of it. These materials were chosen in effort to allow the children to explore the characteristics of the lemon and allow them an opportunity to become familiar with food. To spark the children’s curiosity and interest we added water and paint to the tub. This allowed the children to truly discover its characteristics by touching, tasting, and the smelling. By using real food versus toy food it allows a child to really explore his/her world around them.
In this project, the children immediately crawled right up to the water tub, stood up and looked inside and with no hesitation started grabbing the lemon peels. Shortly after they realized there was just the right amount of water to splash with. The children were quick to pick up the lemons by using both their hands. They squeezed down on the lemons with their hands and would bring it to their mouth, allowing them to taste the inner and outer texture of the lemon peel. After some splashing of the water the children quickly discovered how to scoop water into the lemon half and then pour back out into the tub, which brought much excitement and laughter to them. While most of the children took part in exploring in this manner, one child chose to take his time, looking intently at the color and contemplating whether he wanted to feel the texture of it or not. With much patience and thought he finally joined in with his peers in exploring with the lemons.
Children are multisensory- learners. When a child is able to explore the different textures and looks of actual food, they are able to really take it in. By allowing food exploration the children were able to dig through, smash, squeeze, sniff, pour, and dump and truly discover the characteristics of their food.
This provided a significant sensory experience for the infant’s intellectual development. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills. By squeezing down on the lemons the children used their muscles in their hands. Sensory play also enhances memory. The children are much more likely to remember this experience and will be able to apply their knowledge of color mixing to more complex concepts involving color theory. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
“Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes, and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds, and colors.” –Loris Malaguzzi