Week 6 Beans!
Week 6 blogging is a bit late. Sorry about that, I was a tiny bit busy. 🙂 I really am enjoying the pretty purple flowers on this bean plant! The bottom leaves are loosing their color too soon in my opinion, so I added some fertilizer. I realize I have no bees to pollinate, but I’m still hopeful this plant may produce one bean!
The vines have really taken off and are almost at the very top of the string I attached. A nice amount of little purple flowers can be found over most of the plant. I love this shade of purple, so I’m so happy the flowers are not white, but colored! 🙂
You can see here that the vines have been steadily growing. They just needed a little help when they first started. I am eager to see how far these little bean plants will grow before saying good night.
If you have ever tried growing beans indoors just for the fun of it let me know how it turned out! I’m not talking about growing starts for gardens indoors, but just seeing how far your plant flourished inside. So far my window by my little kitchen area has a lovely window curtain of bean leaves, vines and purple flowers. 🙂
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT
The Marigold School of Early Learning
Green Apple Cinnamon Play dough
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.
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.
Heidi Scott, The Marigold School of Early Learning
Play Based Learning
Cars and Blocks! 🙂 A three year old child decided that cars and blocks go nicely together and so began construction of a large one story building and some nice parking spots for cars. And some cars park upside down.
I absolutely love how this child decided the parking spots should be on tall polls! What do you think, is this the future of parking? Maybe when cars fly like on the “Jetsons”? 🙂 Again mathematics and yes, physics are happening here. This child put those cars on the pulls many times because gravity and balance claimed them. Finally with much persistence they stayed put.
Moving along from cars and blocks, we find that using scissors to cut play dough is a great way to practice proper form and to strengthen our fine motor skills. This child follows a normal developmental pattern of going back and forth between using two hands to open and close the scissors and using one hand to cut and one to hold the object needing cutting. As a mentor and guide in this situation, I modeled it once and let her try. I encouraged her to keep trying when she felt it was too hard. And she did wonderfully on her own! 🙂 The next time we used scissors for paper and for play dough she allowed me to model it once and she tried it until she felt satisfied.
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT The Marigold School of Early Learning 🙂
Come join us at The Marigold School of Early Learning! We would love to play with new friends and together plan many exciting and new projects!
Following the Interest of a Child
Before we went on winter break I captured these pictures from the morning preschool sessions. 🙂
Using puzzle pieces and a small wooden bowl I set up a provocation for the morning. 🙂
Here is a small example of emergent curriculum. I based this provocation off of what I saw happening in class. The week before a three year old child used dominoes and cars to create pictures, so I thought why not try the same idea using puzzle pieces. Again, I do not expect and am not crushed if a child does not take interest in a provocation, it is a learning process for both myself and the students.
What ended up happening is the puzzle pieces were moved to a piece of fabric in the Reading Corner and buttons were added to the bowl. And that is when a child’s imagination took over! 🙂 The puzzle pieces and buttons became cat food! And as I was documenting this emergent process I also observed a strong interest in cats. This particular child has a pet cat, so no surprise with the interest. This is leading me to adding a few more cat books to our Reading Corner and non-fiction ones as well.
Here is an example of little bear and a cat book. Since interest in cat behavior is showing up in play so strongly, I am going to incorporate facts about cats and see what types of provocations I can set up to entice young children’s interests in cats or other animals. The content areas that will be covered will include literacy, art, and science. How interested the children are in the topic will determine how deep we go into the content areas, but I can tell you from years of experience that when young children are interested in a topic, deep and meaningful learning experiences are the result. And the wonderful thing about it is that is all stems from the children and is not topics forced onto them by the Teacher. 🙂
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT
The Marigold School of Early Learning
Provocation and a Child’s Interest
I’ve talked before about how young children sometimes will be curious about a provocation or not. I’ve also talked about how using the materials you have is a great way to incorporate recycling into your curriculum. Above I had set up a small provocation using boxes, blocks and wooden dolls, our fairies. And I used a piece of fabric to place them all onto. I had no idea if this would be an interest or not, but I tried anyway.
It turned out that one of my students chose to remove the blocks from the table and take them to the construction/ block interest area to build with. The boxes, dolls and fabric were all left behind. So I decided to follow this child and put the boxes and dolls in the construction/ block area too. At first block building dominated and no interaction with the dolls took place. However, just as I was about to give up on my provocation entirely, this student decided the dolls needed furniture. 🙂
It turns out that the provocation wasn’t a fail as I thought it was. This child made it her own and took it in the direction she wanted. She moved the blocks to an area she could build, then she used the blocks to make furniture for the dolls. She explored, constructed and planned using her own timing and ideas. I mentioned the word “planned” second because often times young minds construct first and formulate ideas and plans as they go. Constructing knowledge as they engage in hands-on projects enables their young minds to experiment with the many ideas running through their heads.
Sometimes it can be very difficult as a Teacher to sit back and wait. Sometimes it is important to follow the child’s lead and then step back again. Waiting, watching and listening are all part of the documentation process and of being a Teacher, Mentor and Facilitator.
As this child started to story tell about the dolls/ fairies she used our wooden tool bench, tools, and alphabet puzzle pieces and incorporated them into her story. This child was also integrating the content areas such as mathematics when building, for example, measuring, comparing sizes, shapes and balancing each block. She also entered into literacy development when she started story telling. Allowing young children to express their individual ideas and creative thoughts is all a part of a strong learning foundation. This simple example is what enables children to take risks with their learning as they grow older. We want children to have confidence and the ability to make difficult decisions as they grow into adulthood and become responsible citizens. It all starts in the early years of development.
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT 🙂
The Marigold School of Early Learning
Fabic Pieces and Interest Areas
The Marigold School of Early Learning is a morning preschool for young minds aged three to five years. School resumes the week of January 4th through 8th, 2016. We are ready to jump into learning fun at 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., so come join us so you can enjoy learning too! 🙂
Using fabric pieces, interest areas can move about the school or be more visible to young children’s eyes. When I first bought the fabric scraps I knew I would use them for something, I just didn’t know exactly what. And then it hit me! Portable interest areas or provocations with a similar concept to movable centers.
In the Construction/ Block Interest area there is a rather busy carpet. Some children actually do use the roads on the carpet while most do not. So since it was such a busy background I put down one piece of fabric and moved the lacing cards to the Construction/Block Interest area. The lacing cards were more visible and it freed up our table for play dough fun! 🙂
We also found that the same piece of fabric could be used as a table cloth on our kitchen table. So it turned out I had plenty of uses for my pile of fabric scraps. 🙂 Not only did using the fabric for multiple things work, we discovered how easy it can be to gather materials and put them in their proper place when they are on fabric that can be easily and quickly turned into a makeshift bag. Of course we made sure all four corners were up and tied together before moving the materials.
Setting up a provocation using fabric and other materials sparks a young child’s mind into thinking along creative pathways. Using the materials in endless ways keep the children expanding their thoughts and understandings too. Fabric is large, small, soft, smooth, rough or bumpy. Fabric is portable not static and can be used in many different ways to enhance quality learning for young minds. Children experience color, texture, patterns, size differences and the many uses that come from having fabric as an educational tool. 🙂
This child used puzzle pieces and buttons as cat food. We put down a piece of fabric in the reading corner.
Back to the Construction/ Block area we used another piece of fabric to use blocks and mini checkers for sandwiches. And yes, this was a three year old child’s idea.
Another day we used blocks, wooden bowls, geo shape blocks and other fun items to make a picnic! The imagination of a child never stops and the wonderful part of all of this is the endless learning that is unfolding!
Come join The Marigold School of Early Learning if you want your 3-5 year old child to experience the joy of learning through inquiry, exploration, discoveries and many more developmentally appropriate learning opportunities! 🙂
An unopened canned soup made it’s way onto our picnic area! This is all the creative work of a three year old child! 🙂
Heidi Scott, BA and MIT
The Marigold School of Early learning is having a tour on Halloween! Please join us between 3:00-6:00 p.m. for an up close look at the preschool and treat bags!
I love teaching young children and if you are looking for a small play-based environment for your child aged three to five years please come and see us rain or shine!
You are welcome to come and visit between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 Halloween Night!
Artistic expression is a large part of the curriculum, yet so is constructing, dramatic play and science exploration! Eight young minds can come each morning at 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m to wonder, question, explore and create!
I look forward to meeting you all and wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT The Marigold School of Early Learning! 🙂
Fabric and Buttons!
Using textures and small manipulatives like buttons for beginning patterning provocations is another way to introduce mathematic concepts to young minds in a non-intrusive way.
This is an example of how you can display biggest to smallest using buttons. The idea when setting up provocations like this one with fabric and buttons, is to keep in mind this is an open-ended exploration. Watch, listen and observe how one or all four children at the table use the materials or choose not to use them. Revisit this provocation and from the observations and words of the children formulate questions to spark a discussion of possible uses for fabric and buttons. You may be surprised at what non-conventional ways the children will come up with. 🙂
Using different nature based or Autumn colors is another way to stimulate a child’s young mind in terms of creativity. Here is a cream colored fabric with yellow buttons along with leaf patterns and a star shape. These small details may be noticed by the children and this could inspire one or more to draw or paint a picture of leaves or stars. The children may ask for clay to sculpt a flower. You never know where a young mind will take a provocation.
Now you may be thinking this is too abstract, not enough information for a young mind. However, my expectations are for the young mind’s capacity to question, explore ideas and take risks creating things inspired by a provocation like this one. Conversation and deep discussion can come about from the children for different uses of fabric and buttons. Sizes, shapes, colors, textures are all a part of the natural and artificial world in which all children live and breath. Use what you have to provoke deep thought, questioning, exploring and constructing minds of the young children you teach or care for.
Patters are in real nature and they are in artificial nature. Here is an example of using the colors in the fabric to create with buttons a red and yellow pattern. Again this is a provocation which may lead a young child to extend the pattern, or it may inspire them to draw or sculpt. As a Teacher my ideas and adult expectations have to be put on the back burner. I have to be patient and wait to see how young three, four and five year old minds will interpret and create with exposure to a provocation like this one. The types of questions I ask to further exploration may differ for each age group or I may observe how each child of a different age influences another’s ideas and constructions based on this one provocation.
Give this provocation a try! See what your young preschool children come up with. Let me know how it worked out for you. Let me know if it did not work and how you changed the provocation. How did your discussions on this provocation unfold and what insights did you gain in terms of how each child interpreted the provocation? I want to hear from you! Please like and share!
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT The Marigold School of Early Learning 🙂
The joy of a wooden tool bench and more!
This is another addition to the building and construction area! I prefer wooden toys that really do what they claim. I also enjoy the fact that the tools all work and are just right for young developing fine motor muscles of children ages 3-5. 🙂
This particular learning set is one the children could have worked on as a cooperative team to put together. Instead I put it together and that is how I judge whether a toy is a toy or an actual learning tool. When you are out searching the stores for toys that are also educational keep in mind that you should play with it first. If you take the time to play with toys/ educational materials before you give them to your child, you will have a much broader understanding of how versatile or not your purchase is. You will discover quite quickly if it is just a toy for entertainment purposes only, or if there are many learning experiences packed in the gem you found.
This wooden tool bench is perfect for two children to enjoy. Three could use this as a small group, however if tools are popular I have another possible solution.
I have a standing area for one or two children to explore a plastic version of tools as well. So even though plastic is not my first choice, this will do if tools are the popular item of the moment. When setting up extra materials that are popular with the children I always take into account their actual physical play patterns. This way I can set up interest areas based on where they would naturally explore. This may or may not work even with my considerations taken into account, but at least it is a good try for capturing their curiosity and encouraging deeper thoughts.
As you can see the children are once again able to engage in mathematical learning experiences that incorporate communication if working as a team or small group. Each is also exploring shapes, spacial relations, eye-hand coordination and developing fine motor skills while thoroughly enjoying themselves! 🙂