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Early childhood education has been my life for over 30 years. I have taught all age groups from infants to 5-year-olds. I was a director for five years in the 1980s, but I returned to the classroom 22 years ago. My passion is watching the ways children explore and discover their world. In the classroom, everything starts with the reciprocal relationships between adults and children and between the children themselves. With that in mind, I plan and set up activities. But that is just the beginning. What actually happens is a flow that includes my efforts to invite, respond and support children's interface with those activities and with others in the room. Oh yeh, and along the way, the children change the activities to suit their own inventiveness and creativity. Now the processes become reciprocal with the children doing the inviting, responding and supporting. Young children are the best learners and teachers. I am truly fortunate to be a part of their journey.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Play and Learning at the Sensorimotor Table

For many years, I have been building apparatus for the sand and water (sensory) table in an early childhood classroom. The apparatus are usually very simple and made with free or inexpensive materials. Many of the apparatus are made with cardboard and duct tape. A few of the apparatus are more complicated, but still inexpensive and easy to build. One reason for this blog is to present these apparatus to offer ideas on how to expand the sensory table area.  With pictures and anecdotes, I would also like to make visible the joy of play and learning the children experience when they explore, manipulate and make these apparatus their own.


The sensory table is in a space that is 8' x 6.5'. The space is enclosed on three sides: a cabinet on the right with smocks; wall in the back; and sink and counter on the left. The sink next to the area is important because sensorimotor play tends to be messy. The sand and materials used in the table are stored under the counter behind curtains to allow for easy access. There is mat under the table to protect the floor. The table itself is very simple.  It is basicallly a tub on legs.  It is 50" long and is adjustable. It is set on the lowest setting: 17.5" off the ground.   The simplicity of the table has proven to be an ideal foundation for me to build and create.

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