Mud Kitchen!

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Well after months of seeing a ton of wonderful postings on Mud Kitchens I decided to try making my own! ūüôā

101_2131¬†¬†101_2141¬†First came purchasing all the supplies I thought I’d need.¬† This required two trips because I needed more screws than I originally thought. Then I moved everything outdoors and applied two coats of waterproof stain.¬† I let that cure for 24 hours in between coats.¬† One thing I learned is next time to make sure I purchase some boards to place all the pieces on as I coat them, so the grass does not adhere to the sticky surface and create a hairy mud kitchen like it did this time! ūüôā Oh, well, a little texture never hurt. ūüôā

101_2147 101_2150 I assembled the mud kitchen in different ways until I found a good height combination.

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For each step, I used my electric hand-held drill and some Ikea tools.¬† It took about three days in total to put together, stain, cure, stain, cure and assemble.¬† After placing a backboard and an extra shelf for stability and storage I was ready to load it up and see how it would handle some tubs with dishes and some flower pots for loose parts.¬† All put together I thought it turned out pretty functional.¬† I then placed the unit onto a blanket and slid it along the floor till my sister could help me carry it outside.¬† I’m sorry, but for now, I don’t have any pics without my students interacting with it so I will post what it looks like outside later on.

If any of you have made your own without the help of your husbands, boyfriends or handymen, please let me know.¬† And if you care to share a photo or two that would be great too! ūüôā

101_1859¬†Walk, Ride a bike or drive to The Marigold School of Early Learning! ūüôā

Heidi Scott has over twenty years teaching experience in grades preschool through third and holds a Bachelor’s in Human Development with a Focus on Early Childhood Education and a Master’s In Teaching grades preschool – eighth grades.

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101_0213 Children ages three going on four are ready for a big responsibility, and that is black line drawing with watercolor painting.  By modeling how to use a black sharpie with my students I conveyed a powerful message that I trust them with this important writing/ art tool. 

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101_1195¬†Rose petals are a wonderful part of nature that naturally plays into a child’s artistic expressions.¬† Another language in which children can communicate their ideas and creative abilities.¬† Cardstock paper with colored pencils and paint glue made for very textured and colorful creations!¬† Open-ended learning is the best.¬† I love watching, listening, questioning and following the children’s lead.

 

 

Using bingo dots to create houses for the cars.  And using recyclable containers and wood sticks as a drum set.  Mathematical concepts merging with dramatic play and musical experimentation.  Children inspire children.

101_0714 We took a chance and planted some buck beans that we often play with inside our wooden sensory drawer.  Wow, all five beans in each container sprouted! Seeing nature take root literally is the best way to introduce scientific concepts to children. 

 

101_1182¬†Cutting more scrap paper to add to the colorful paint water.¬† Cutting, stirring and color experimentation further’s the reality that children are scientists with endlessly curious minds.¬†¬†

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Looking for a quality Reggio Emilia Inspired Preschool where your child is allowed to plan, explore, discover and construct through a wide variety of ways?  Look no further!  Join The Marigold School of Early Learning this fall for the 2018-2019 school year!

Heidi Scott has over twenty years experience as a Teacher and Educator.¬† She has earned a Bachelor’s In Human Development with a Focus on Early Childhood Education and a Master’s In Teaching grades preschool through eighth and participates in ongoing professional development classes.

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Email: marigoldschoolofearlylearning@gmail.com

Phone: 360-957-6307

 

The journey not the product

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As adults, we often enjoy children’s artwork for not only the adorable inexperience it shows but the aesthetic¬†qualities too.¬† However, there are times when we want a lovely product instead of realizing the rich quality of the process a child went through to create whatever is on that piece of paper or however a sculpture may appear. In the early years of development, the artwork is not necessarily¬†for aesthetic purposes, it is a complex investigation of colors, textures, shapes, and sizes.¬† The artwork through its process is also very much a part of psychology in which the child is in the moment calming the brain, calming any anxieties, and recharging energy.¬† Children take time naturally to process information and we see this often when children become quiet and push all other activity from their focus.¬† They may not answer a question an adult or another child poses, because their brain is working hard at interpreting¬†a large or small amount of new information.¬† That new information could be a flower they saw on their way to school.¬† That flower at first was a bud and now is in full bloom.¬† The child has noticed the changes and these are not small changes to that child’s mind, they are huge and complex changes because that flower the child observed is life as it grows, develops over time.¬† To an adult that flower may be insignificant, yet for the child that is part of a strong foundation for all future learning.

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When children explore colors they are investigating mixing, creating and experimenting with a variety of combinations they can come up with.¬† Sometimes they will have a plan in mind for what they are creating, but often times there is no plan because this is a truly¬†kinesthetic/ tactile and cognitive process that does not need a plan.¬† The process children go through with their investigations with artwork is not meant to be “something” unless that child wants it to represent a person, place or thing.¬† And if a child chooses for their artwork to be representational know that what is represented will not stay the same.¬† In one moment the painting above could be a house or a dog or nothing.¬† As a teacher I will often ask questions like, “can you tell me about your painting?”, “Can we read your¬†drawing?”, “Tell me more.”.¬† If a child’s intent was for the painting or drawing to represent something they will elaborate and tell me what it is in that moment only to change it to something else in the next moment, which then leads them to storytelling or sharing a life event they experienced.¬† In essence, an opportunity to discuss their artwork may simply open a door to connect with a child and the experiences they have in life.¬† Communication, listening, speaking are all a part of a rich literacy foundation with artwork as the vehicle or catalyst.

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Scribble to symbolic form is a natural and complex developmental process that should not be rushed.¬† Children in their own time will shift to consistent¬†symbolic form when their minds are ready.¬† Please do not dismiss or belittle a child’s scribbles.¬† Scribble form is what every single human being started with, you and I are no different than children today that scribble.¬† This stage of development is a natural process that must be experienced in order for the child’s brain to aquire new information that allows them to move on to symbolic form.¬† Symbolic form means that we, adults and children recognize the artwork as being “something”.¬† That “something” will be flexible and fluid, not static.¬† The child may choose to say it represents a face, a cat, a car etc.¬† We must be respectful of the importance that this artistic work is not about the end product but rather the process or journey the child went through at they created this peice of work.

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With a Reggio Emilia Inspired environment, I am able to integrate letters, numbers, shapes, textures, concepts and academic content into the emerging curriculum through the form of “play”.¬† “Play” encompasses all the complexities of learning for young developing minds.¬† I accept and respect all the work my students engage in.¬† I do not rush them, I listen and observe how they interact with each other, individually and with the environment.¬† Children come to school with a rich vocabulary base and a large platform of experience from their home life.¬† What they’ve learned from their respective families is often times extended upon in class.¬† Yet, that is not always the case for every child.¬† Some children are able to limit the knowledge they share from their family.¬† This means that some children have a mind that is internally driven to explore and learn new information or explore information that is the same, yet presented differently at school.¬† Other children will share everything they experience at home and in the world at school.¬† I look at this as natural boundaries children are expressing and I respect each child’s abilities and desires to share whatever amount they wish. Please respect the process and the complex journey of young minds as they grow.¬†¬†

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Join The Marigold School of Early Learning and allow your child to grow and learn at their own pace.  Enjoy the early years of development and watching your child blossom!

Walk, ride a bike or drive to The Marigold School Of Early Learning! Morning Preschool Specifically Designed for Children Ages 3-5!

Heidi Scott is an experienced Master level Teacher

Children Learn In Their Own Time

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Roads are not always created with blocks.  When children are allowed to explore their curiosities they end up using a variety of materials designed for entirely different purposes.  Yet, being able to manipulate a wide variety of objects and discover multiple uses for them is how children form the knowledge bases they need for all academic areas they will be more heavily involved with once they enter elementary school and beyond.

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Nature also provides an endless supply of wonderful materials for all sorts of creations.¬† Stick, leaves, bark, rocks, grass and the list goes on, are all important parts of a child’s foundation for learning.¬† Kinesthetic/tactile experiences are so vital for concrete minds.¬† When children are constantly interrupted from their natural way of learning to sit and do a direct instruction activity that an adult wants them to work on the real tragedy of that moment is that the child is only doing something to please the adult, but is not learning as deeply as is needed for future success and confidence.¬† When a child is allowed to explore and construct knowledge in an environment that is set up for “play” learning has no end.

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Respecting each child’s age and developmental journey is also very important and directly affects a child’s future social and academic successes. When a child is three they are spending that year gaining more and more vocabulary, their fine and gross motor skills vastly change, their ability to understand conversations, ask questions, make observations, tell stories, and the list goes on is all new and exciting.¬† However, they are still three and there is much more learning to come.¬† Don’t rush a child who is three, allow that child to be the age they are.¬† Enjoy all the new and old discoveries.¬† Enjoy the back and forth progress and journey¬†of growing and learning. And remember that literacy and mathematics are part of a bigger whole.¬† In early childhood education, the focus is on the needs of the whole child, not just letters, and numbers.¬† These abstract concepts are incorporated into play to help their concrete minds build a foundation to add onto as they grow and develop over a number of years.¬†

Yes, children can memorize letters and numbers and when they do they are pleasing an adult, but when a child is allowed to learn these abstract concepts in their own time, a much deeper understanding is able to form.¬† They will have a more stable grasp of the information and will be more successful through their school career. Listen, observe and be the support the child needs when they are showing an interest in letters and numbers.¬† Be the child’s scribe, provide them with the tools they need to show their understanding in a natural play context with no pressure, so there is no anxiety tied to learning academic concepts.

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Learning new things happens over and over again.¬† There is a spiral of new and revisited concepts and that is normal development.¬† Interest can be strong for a long period of time in a certain subject or category, but when the child discovers newer information their brain shifts to make new pathways for those concepts.¬† Once a child feels comfortable with their newly acquired knowledge they will spiral back to other areas of interest and add more pathways of understanding.¬† Influences for this process are both internal and external.¬† It is important to support a child’s interests and make sure the new and old information can be explored, questioned, experimented with and built upon.¬† When a child leaves one interest and becomes more engrossed in another subject for a while, they will return to the original interest that much more competent with that subject because their minds have had time to continue to work on any curiosities they had.¬† Working in different areas of interest does not occur in isolation, rather they fit together, all areas are related and are fluid and not static.¬† A child’s mind is rapidly growing and taking on more and more information, so do not worry if they lose interest in counting for a while, the other interests they have actually allow their subconscious to continue working on any areas they had questions about.¬† Once they return to counting they may be rusty at first but then there will be a burst of new information showing through their play because their minds have had time to process and assimilate new information that will allow the child to go further with their understanding of numbers than they could before.

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Let children be children and cherish the time they are young and the world is new to them.  This perception will change as they get older, so do not feel you need to rush a child to become an adult.  They will get there in their own time through their own unique journey of curiosity, discovery, and construction of knowledge.

*Walk, ride a bike or drive to The Marigold School of Early Learning: Preschool Specifically Designed for Children Ages 3-5! ūüôā¬†

 *Heidi Scott is an experienced Master level Teacher with 20 + years of teaching both early childhood and primary grades.