Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Welcoming the Youngest Children

At the beginning of the year, the Forest Room children can see the Garden Room children through a French door separating our classrooms.  This interest leads to questions about who is there and how we can get over to see them.  

We began taking two children at a time to visit the other classrooms and the studio.  The older children have met them with a genuine interest to introduce them to the materials and play in their classrooms.  These interactions have been particularly sweet, showing how compassionate the older children are, and reminding us of how relationships develop even from the first time children visit each other.

Noticing the Garden Room children

 "Come see our light table room!"
Garden Room

Painting with Cris in the Rainbow Room

A child shows how to use a "shot."
Meadow Room

 "This is my brother!"
Saying hello and introducing him to his turtle ship
Meadow Room

A brother shows how he tapes the shapes together.
Meadow Room

 "Hey! This is your sister's room!" (In a sweet, sweet voice)
Meadow Room

 Noticing the Forest Room from the Garden Room.

Garden Room children sharing a puzzle.

Anna shows another child's work.

                Demonstrating how to put putty on one side of the tube so it will stick.
Meadow Room

He found something to jump through the hoop so Anna made him his own "circle".

Joining a small group in the studio.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


 Have you ever drawn a plan to build something and thought you understood all the variables only to find,  not long after beginning, a whole new set of problems that were not evident in the drawing?  Changing materials for representation can interject new challenges, and so new discoveries, around an idea that has grown stale or lost it's inspiration.

The children in the Meadow Room are very proficient at building with our magna tiles. 
Magna tiles are popular every year;


  ... they are versatile and open-ended, 
                                                             and with magnetic sides, simple to connect.  

But they can become repetitive, and if they do -  are they still vehicles for creative thinking?

Robyn commented the other day "they don't seem to be very satisfying".   
Me: "Are they just too easy?"
                                           Children like challenges, (we all do). 

What if... we offer the same shapes cut out of card stock (old folders actually), with tape for connecting. 

I showed the children in the mini-studio, that if they laid the pieces on the table and taped them first, their ships and buildings would be easier to construct.  I thought they needed this scaffolding to be successful in their constructions and not lose interest from frustration.  It is always a question "how much do I help?  What do I want them to get from this experience?"  I decided to show them this basic technique to make their constructions successful.

They helped each other and the constructions grew and changed.  

They flew their ships 

                                                              and embellished their buildings.

Paper and tape are not too different from the plastic they had used, though they bend and are harder to connect.  We plan to change materials again, as long as their interest holds, to see how many ways they can represent their ships and buildings, and increase their skills with various media at the same time - wood?  wire?  drawing?  paint?  shadows?

Changing modes of representation promotes creative thinking, problem solving, new skills, and collaboration.  Gaining proficiency with a material, and seeing what you have created is a source of pride, and so becomes a force for self-motivation.

Enjoy the children's work.