The Marigold School of Early Learning

100_9737  Outdoor exploration brought upon the discovery of fresh green moss from our lilac tree.  Small hands pulled piece after piece off the bark and quickly pushed the bundles into the bag.  Once inside those same small hands squished, pushed and continued the sensory experience started outdoors.  Nature is literally at our fingertips, so use what you have because an abundance of learning is within your reach.

101_0198  Provocations are set up with the intent to draw a child’s eye and watch what learning may occur.   As a three-year-old child looked at the picture, she immediately counted each stick individually; she did not notice the grouping.  How the child counted the sticks is how emergent curriculum develops.  Young children tell us what they understand and that gives me, the Teacher insight as to how to challenge them and further develop curriculum that supports their cognitive growth and development.

101_0250   An older box that gave me a flower years ago became our sensory box filled with a smaller box, a jar, a plastic cup, a wooden bowl, dried peas and rocks, and a few other items to inspire curiosity.  Recycle, reuse and save on resources each time you consider what you already have may be just the right usable learning tool or storage space.

  100_9997 Discovering that the sensory materials are layered with multiple textures and shapes inspired counting, sorting and shape exploration.  Standard shapes are not all of the shapes we learn about from our environments.  Kinesthetic/tactile learning experiences enrich young minds as they question and explore with their senses and discover knowledge.

   100_8570 Support young children’s need for sensory experiences by always having a wonderful tool as a staple, such as play-dough.  Pair it with dominoes and we have another item that can be used in a different way to enrich the learning journey.  We made holes by using the dominoes as stamps, buried the dominoes and counted the dots with no direct influence to do so.  A provocation is a piece of emergent curriculum tied directly to the interests of young minds.  Allow children to question, explore, experiment, manipulate, discover and create.  As a Teacher, I can support, assist, model, question and suggest.  All my efforts go towards furthering the cognitive development in young preschool aged minds.


A fist full of vibrant colors is used in multiple ways, first to draw with all together, and second to continue sensory exploration of the concept “round”. Small details such as these make up the many building blocks of a strong foundation for future learning and school readiness.

2008-01-08 12.32.36  A child can delight in using a familiar sensory tool to explore and learn about scissors.  Play-dough is a safe way for young hands to use their sensory perception to fully grasp the meaning of how to cut with proper form.  Modeling safe use of this tool enables young minds and hands to continue exploring and experimenting with minimal frustrations.


Rich, vibrant and lovely colors are a part of all early learning environments, and making your own water color paints is another way to use materials you may already have.  Painting is a strong staple and allows young children to color experiment, express feelings, ideas, thoughts and eventually real life experiences and made up stories.  Once again content areas are integrated into the fabric of all learning with an emergent program.

101_0277  If you want more opaque colors try incorporating another staple, tempera paint.  Experimenting with Valentine’s Day colors was not only enjoyable, but this child found how easy it can be to paint number ones across the paper! Pieces of artwork young hands and minds have created are packed with rich information about where the child is on the developmental continuum. Recognize the time, effort, energy and emotions young children put into their creative endeavors. Give them tools that allow them to be versatile with their creativity and you will discover how talented each child really is at this young age.


Taking some time to follow the theory of “Loose Parts and Intelligent Play Things”, buttons and craft sticks have been a necessary part of the kitchen area for three months now.  Children’s imaginations are colorful, detailed and uninhibited, so provide materials that each can experiment with.  You will discover how unbiased and intelligent young children are when you allow the imagination to flow.

100_8789 Trains are of interest in this picture, and stacking trees to be taken to homes is important in this child’s mind.  Balance, motion, weight and the texture of surfaces were all aspects being investigated.  Transferring ideas from one tool to another is a sign of true learning, when understanding is emerging.  Questions and more questions pop into young minds once the wheels of understanding are being formed.

.100_9280 Colorful counters and buttons make an appearance in the kitchen pans.  Imagination leads children through open doors and windows.  Knock down the invisible road blocks for young children and allow them to use the tools they have in their environment to explore and discover learning!

100_9165 Lining up both rectangles and squares enabled this child to not only attempt a straight line, but to compare and contrast the shape differences and similarities.  Block play is essential and will grow with the child as his/ her mind expands and requires more challenges.

100_8807  Large motor and fine motor muscles at work here with oil pastels.  Incorporating different art mediums for young children to use allows more brain connections to be made about color and texture.  There are differences when drawing with crayon, markers and other art tools.  Those differences are sometimes small and sometimes large, and children notice them.  Appreciate young children’s need for art expression.  Artistic intelligence is a vehicle for all learning.

100_9370  Tools are for both girls and boys, just as blocks and cars are.  Do not let gender stereotypes prevent a child from learning.  All children should have the opportunity to explore and learn about the things we all use in our lives or use in our careers as adults.  Children have an innate and insatiable desire to understand, so make sure you put your daughters next to you as you do your son’s, when doing handy work with household tools.  (Of course make sure they are only next to you when it is safe for them.) 🙂


I invite you to think about your young child’s first school experiences and email or call me for a tour.  Your young child will have an opportunity to grow and learn in a small home like environment where everything is designed for their specific needs.  Kindergarten readiness and being prepared for K-12 education is understandably on your mind, so allow your child to be ready with a program that supports the natural developmental path children take as they come to understand this world and their place in it.


Email or call when you would like a tour. The Marigold School of Early Learning is a morning school that runs for the maximum of four hours Monday through Friday.  Why a four hour program instead of a two and a half or three hour program?  Because your child will benefit more from a program that enables plenty of time for exploration, inquiry and discovery within a play-based environment.   With a small class of no more that eight young students aged three to five M-F, your child will have more opportunities for one on one Teacher time, be able to gain vital social skills and an emergent curriculum will enable your child to learn at his or her own pace.  Come join our small community and grow with us!

Heidi Scott is an experienced Teacher with a Bachelor’s in Human Development with a Focus on Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree In Teaching grades preschool through eighth grade.

Take  a journey through my web site and Facebook page to learn more about my small school.  I look forward to meeting you all and building a strong community of early learners.

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