Monday, 2 April 2018

Engaging the Senses ~ Creative Expression

"The senses, being explorers 
of the world, open the way to knowledge. 
Our apparatus for educating 
the senses offers the child a key to guide 
his explorations of the world..."

Dr. Maria Montessori

Many of the children within our learning space engage in imaginative play in the kitchen area on a daily basis. As they re-enact familiar experiences, roles and construct dramatic play with their peers the children build meaning about everyday life. As an observer of this play, one can gather a multitude of information about the children's thinking. We ponder the following: In what ways do the children communicate their ideas? How do they show their previous experiences? What connections through relationships with each other and materials are formed during this play? 

In response to the children's play they were offered the sensory play proposal in the photo above. To engage their senses dried chocolate mint was placed on the wooden scoops. Each material was carefully and thoughtfully chosen to enrich the children's experience. The children were already experienced with scooping and filling using many of the materials from previous experiences within the learning environment. Offering children these types of materials develops not only fine motor skills but leads to the development of their ability to problem solve, make decisions, and connect to the everyday experiences they may see in the kitchens in their homes. What the children within our learning space had not been offered before was the mortar and pestle. They curiously asked about this tool and eagerly added the mint to the mortar and began to pound with the pestle. It will be a tool that we will definitely include more in our provoking of the children's thinking. 

Monday, 5 March 2018

Relationships of Learning

"A child's play is not simply a 
reproduction of what he has experienced,
but a creative reworking of the 
impressions he has acquired."


 The learning environment is rich in possibilities and has been curated carefully to engage the children creatively as they make meaning about the world around them. Often the children in our class bring toys from home to school. We have observed the children use these treasured toys in creative ways during play. 

Today a toy dirt bike inspired exploration and learning within the classroom. One of our year one children began this exploration by creating texture in the play dough using the dirt bike's wheels. First he flattened the dough with his hand and then he carefully observed the effects of the wheels as he zoomed the dirt bike back and forth over the dough. A few children gathered around and were drawn into his exploration. A friend asked if he could draw the dirt bike. After gathering the necessary materials from the atelier they sat at the table and discussed the dirt bike. Noticing many of it's details and sharing their own personal experiences with dirt bikes the friend began to draw the toy dirt bike. 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Collaborative Canvas ~ Exploring Creative Relationships

The atelier is a space that lives within each of us. As we go about our daily life, this space has the potential to communicate ideas, thoughts and dreams that otherwise might not be expressed. Supporting creative thinking and expression is key to unlocking the full potential that lives inside each one of us. 

Within the learning environment many opportunities are given to guide the creative spirit through materials, time and building of relationships. As children make meaning of the world around them the atelier supports their curiosity and wonder. As educators we engage the children to slow down, take notice and observe. This allows for deeper meaning to be made as we question and dialogue about what we notice. The creative cycle of notice, wonder, observe, dialogue and create is repeated over and over again until new connections and meaning emerge. Throughout the creative process in the atelier we share our journey visually with others and thus engaging them in the learning and building relationship with not only others but the creative materials held within this wondrous space.