Recently I have been thinking about my own practice , particularly how I set up children’s experiences. I am a big advocate of adults being facilitators in early years settings however, I often enjoy setting up an experience to observe how children play , problem solve and overall interact.
This past week I have set up 2 main ” experiences”
the first was lots of wooden blocks , paper , scissors , cardboard and glue. What I observed was a lot of solitary play or parallel play going on in those areas. there was little to no communication and children were quite content drawing and cutting and basically bypassing the other resources that were out.
The second experience was a lot simpler and consisted of two things these where wooden blocks and magnets ( yes I was aware that wooden blocks and magnets don’t go). This experience had the children communicating with each other and questions were being asked. one particular child actually said ” Duncan we need to teach you about magnets”. To me this was amazing , they were problem solving and questioning why I put out those resources.
Eventually the experience had expanded and children where coming in to the area with pieces of material to test if the magnets would work on them – this was after we had a discussion about why the wooden blocks were not effective.
This experience went on for a long period of time and the children where learning so much and engaging throughout the experience and by the end of it we ended up with some many different types of materials, toys , utensils and many more objects than what we started with.
I think my over all point is , its OK to have more simple things displayed out for children to explore instead of bombarding them with all these resources and equipment, as more often than not they will always potentially get more out of a simpler experience rather than a experience that has 1000s of resources and no imagination to discover and investigate.
As usual I will leave with a quote :
Early years man
Twitter – @tweetmeduncan