Come to the Preschool Fair!

We are off to a great start for 2016!  



If you are a family with young children ready for preschool please check out the link below.  Preschools from all over the Clark County area will be at the 2016 Preschool Fair!  So check out their information and come join us! 🙂




Heidi Scott, BA & MIT  The Marigold School of Early Learning cropped-cropped-100_8035.jpg

Reggio Inspired Natural Provocation

I have this tree/ shrub that is very evasive, so I don’t mind clipping off of it now and then.  I also have some lemon mint, so I decided to set up an alphabet and number provocation using those two plants. 🙂

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I set up paper, small glue cups, paint brushes, pencils, water and the two greens I discussed above.  Now at first you may think the children would immediately just glue or draw what I have set out; well, not so.  Usually when I set up a provocation like this it looses it’s open-ended feel for the children, so they change things to the way they would prefer.  However, there is always one or two children that become a bit more curious about what and why things are set up the way they are.  It doesn’t bother me if the children change the entire provocation.  What is important to me is that the children each take interest and go deeper with their curiosity.  

By going deeper with their curiosity, I mean that I enjoy watching and listening to children discuss their ideas among each other.  I enjoy the fact that they have questions and can share information they know.  Children enter the classroom with knowledge and sharing things they know only encourages and opens up the world of education.  Learning through play and through the valuable interactions among peers is so very important.

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With this particular provocation I took the time to set up both the beginning letters of “mom” and “dad”, yet those letters can also represent the beginning letter in a child’s name.  I also set up the numbers one and two.  The children can either choose to glue the leaves in the formations they are arranged or they can glue them in a different way.  If they want to use the pencils to trace or free draw their own creations based on what they see that is also fine.

Another aspect to this provocation is that the children will notice the tiny vanes (carrying oxygen and nutrients to the plant) in each leaf (lung of a plant).  If the children have had prior crayon rubbing experiences, they will know to put a leaf under their paper and use a pencil to color over the top.  Most often I have introduced this particular concept to the children, yet once in a while a child will remember the experience and share with others, which in my opinion is the best way. 🙂

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Displaying how letter and number symbols can be created and used with nature gives young minds experience exploring and manipulating two symbols that will become vital skills as they grow older.  Seeing a letter can spark a discussion about names and how we spell names.  It could also spark a discussion about how old each friend is.  There are many directions this provocation can take children’s discussions and interests.  As the Teacher it is my responsibility to make sure I find ways to support each child’s curiosity and make it a real experience we all can learn from.  Reading and writing early can happen when we are able to see and hear the children’s needs and respond to those academic developmental needs in a concrete and play based way.

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Another aspect I wanted to discuss is the texture and scent of both leaves.  One leaf is smooth and long, while the other is shorter and rougher.  And one leaf has a strong lemon-mint smell.  So many discussions and further studies in this one provocation.  Science, number and letter recognition, texture, relation to real life experiences and so much more all from this simple provocation using materials we all have access to.

An important reminder to all that introduce scented plants to children.  Make sure you’ve discussed eatable plants and no-edible plants with  the children prior to their working with those materials. 🙂

I also wanted to point out that this provocation will become messy and that is great!  Children can learn how to forget themselves while in the process because learning is more important than keeping things super neat.  Once they have finished is when we practice taking care of our materials and making sure the interest area is ready for another friend to explore.  Through a lot of practice children become used to the routines and the environment becomes not only a “third teacher”, but a space in which the children learn how to respect and value.  Patience is the most important thing when I set up all the interest areas.   Being messy is a part of being a curious child and a part of true 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



Pencil me into your schedule!

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Don’t forget to stop by for a tour of The Marigold School of Early Learning!  We will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  So during your busy Saturday stop by and see if my small in-home morning preschool will fit the needs of your intelligent and kindred spirited three to five year old girl or boy!

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Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning