The common area in our main entrance is now used as a classroom. We set up a provocation of natural elements including leaves, flower petals, sticks, stems, blades of grass and more. The children immediately began to play using the elements, setting the materials in the sand, burying some, creating structures out of others, and “cooking” (something we often do in the playground using similar materials).
Their play started conversations, which opened up an opportunity for writing and spelling. The children began drawing the elements and writing down the names of each material, discussing the items with each other while they wrote. One child took the project a step further by creating holes in the sand with her pen.
While we set up provocations quite often for students, this doesn’t mean we limit their materials to the ones we place in front of them. The children have showed time-and-time again that they are comfortable in our environment and are encouraged to walk to a different part of the classroom, or a different room in general, and bring another material to the project if he/she wants to. We strive to never limit their supplies, imagination, or experiences.
This activity allowed for multiple educational elements to take place through the natural processes of the children. Children want to learn, and instead of asking them to color inside the lines, we encourage them to create a sculpture out of that piece, draw their own outline, or even create a play and act out the image. Every day we follow the children’s lead and the results are consistently far more rewarding, educational, informative, and memorable than if we developed a lesson plan.