Green Apple Cinnamon Play dough

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Apple cinnamon play dough not only smells good, but this batch turned out super smooth and very malleable! Notice the above picture is of a young child starting with a medium sized flat circle of dough and then following it are three small ones with the last being super large.  This child started each piece by rolling each into a ball and then using both elbows, flat hands and her stomach to smash the dough flat.  Comparing the size difference between circles was not a Teacher directed provocation.  This child chose on her own to compare the sizes of the five circles she made herself.  Each time a child creates or constructs he/ she is cognitively and physically forming knowledge about that object and shape.  The young mind takes into account the smell, color, texture and how this medium changes and in what ways.  What better way to really understand shapes than to actually create them from a material designed just for young hands and minds.
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The next day apple cinnamon play dough was of great interest again, but more use was made with the adjoining craft sticks.  This time following a similar theme as above, this child chose to line up the sticks side by side. Comparing the same size and shape of each stick was the purpose.  And it was entirely the child’s idea.  Compare and contrast is also a concept that neatly fits into shape building.  Children explore the world around them by using tactile senses, eyesight, hearing, and movement as well as oral and sign language.  The whole child is engaged and the whole mind constructs the building blocks necessary for further academic learning.

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Small hands formed the letter “O”.  This “O” is for now a representation of my name.  Yes, it is not a letter in my name, but it is a start!  Emergent curriculum happens when young minds show internal interest and motivation to understand.  My job is to make sure to support and draw out the knowledge from within and add to it as we go through our preschool journey.

 

Heidi Scott, The Marigold School of Early Learning

Join Me on Saturday, May 30th, 2015 for a Tour!

Dear Families of preschool aged children,

Please pencil me in for this Saturday, May 30th, 2015!  The Marigold School of Early Learning will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a tour!

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If there is a better time for you to stop buy please check out my Contact page and send me an email or give me a call!  I will be happy to schedule a tour that works for you! 🙂

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Autumn will be on us quicker than a blink so scope out your local preschools and find an Early Learning environment that will fill the needs of your young three, four of five year old child!

Play-based learning gives your child a strong foundation for the long school career ahead of each girl and boy, so jump on board and be an advocate for Early Learning! 🙂

Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning!

Encouraging Dialogue through Block Play

Blocks are a favorite of almost every young child I’ve taught. 🙂

school pics 015  Blocks offer a child a gateway to the imagination.  Add a few extra props, such as cars and the imagination explodes with endless adventure!  Suddenly materials objects that may have had only one purpose have now opened up to many different ideas, yet sometimes young minds need a little prompting to get started.

Setting up a provocation like this can entice young minds to question why blocks and cars are set  up together.  Maybe they have yet to explore the two together which gives me the opportunity to ask some questions, find out what ideas the child has in mind and start a dialogue to see what I can help bring to light.

Sometimes all we have to do is ask a child a few questions and they will respond with their own experiences or story ideas.  The story ideas usually take on the form of an endless run-on sentence if actually written down as they say each word.  Or the child may recount the experience or experiences he/ she had with blocks from home or a friends house.  This wonderful play experience could have happened recently or a year ago.  In the mind of a young child three to five sometimes events transcend the normal time line us adults think of.  We must remember a child’s mind is uncluttered and free to have crystal clear thoughts. 🙂

Either an event that actually took place or a story the child chooses to recount, this is a great time to type or write down those wonderful thoughts the child is willing to share.  When we take the time to listen to a young mind and value his/ her words we are showing the child we value their thoughts and ideas and forming a relationship of mutual respect.

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The more elaborate or creative the structure and use of other play materials, I notice the child can be silent as he/ she is in the mode of creative expression.  And there are times when a child’s words flow freely as he/ she creates and I had better be fast enough to capture all the words spoken or else I will miss important details. 🙂  Whether the words are describing real life events remembered due to the provocation sparking a memory, or the provocation is a catalyst for an imaginary story, my purpose remains the same.  I am here to be a support, scribe, facilitator and challenger of the mind.  With a child’s permission I can frame those words, take pictures and hang up the memory or story for all to admire and appreciate.  Displaying the child’s ideas with dignity and respect also encourages the child to keep growing and taking an interest in creating more fascinating structures with blocks and integrating other play materials into the projects.

As a Teacher I want to push the children to a state of disequilibrium only to the point at where they can jump to the next level of understanding.  Challenges are meant to be attained.  If the challenge is too difficult, or if there is too great of disequilibrium the child will become frustrated and give up.  We don’t want a young mind to come to that.  Remember in life we have enough challenges that may be too difficult to overcome. We as adults and Teachers do not need to create challenges that are too difficult to attain or else we will have successfully stopped the learning journey.  

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Encouraging dialogue is the best way to continue to show you value your child or students.  So keep the doorway to communication and understanding open.  We want these young minds to grow to be productive and positive influences on our every changing world. 🙂

Please share your block play or other fun learning experiences!  I would love to read all about them! 🙂

Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning