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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.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

COMBINING APPARATUS

I want to thank all those who attended my presentation this morning at the  National Association for the Education of Young Children(NAEYC) Annual Conference in Washington D.C.  It was an 8:00 AM session and I found out there are a lot of early risers in the field of early childhood.  If you are visiting the blog for the first time, welcome.  Know that questions and comments are always welcome. If you want to email me directly, just click on the complete profile button and push email.  

Because it takes me a long time to do an original post, I am looking over previous posts and I am reposting some that may have gotten less attention than others. This fourth repost goes all the way back to December 2010.  For me this was an important early post because it showed that by combining apparatus, there is no limit as to what a person can build at the sensory table.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

COMBINING APPARATUS: CARDBOARD DIVIDER AND TUBES

Combining apparatus allows one to exponentially vary the configuration of any given apparatus. That is especially true if you keep in mind all the dimensions mentioned in the right-hand column of this blog.  Here you see a cardboard tube embedded in a cardboard divider.



Note that this is another version of the cardboard dividers, one in which the panels are much lower.

A hole is cut in two of the panels on one side. The cardboard tube is threaded through the holes and taped. A section of the tube in the middle has been cut away.   Now besides the open spaces created by the vertical walls of the divider, the tube creates both horizontal and closed dimensions to the apparatus. 





In another version of this combined apparatus, an additional plastic florescent light cover is embedded in the divider.  This configuration is a little different because the table is used to support one end of the tube and channel and both the tube and channel extend over the end of the table so children can push the sand out of the tube and channel into the tub below.


Little construction vehicles are added because they fit nicely into the tube and channel and create a different type of play with moving the sand with front loaders and bulldozers.  

If you look at dimensions to the right again, the cardboard divider is an open apparatus with vertical walls.  The tube in the apparatus introduces a horizontal and closed dimension and the plastic channel adds an horizontal and open dimension.

What does that mean for play?

It offers opportunities for focused play in an individual space on a different level with a different dimension.  The child below is playing with the truck and bulldozer on a level six inches above the bottom of the table. In addition, he is operating on a horizontal open plane.  That naturally restricts his motor movements on that plane.
The child below is scooping sand with her hand from the tube.  This is a horizontal plane that adds a closed dimension to the apparatus.  How far can she move her hand when she scoops the sand?  And how far into the tube can she reach to scoop the sand?  She, too, can operate on two different physical levels. Actually, there is a third level with the tube when you see the tube as two separate levels: in the tube and on the tube. Both the channel and the tube offer motor experiences on a horizontal plane.  The tube also offers motor experiences that are altered by the open/closed nature of the tube.

If also offers new challenges for transporting the sand both through the window and through the tube.


It also offers new opportunities for social interaction.


And it offers new opportunities for role play.

Children will explore all the spaces you give them.  Their explorations lay the groundwork for their firsthand knowledge of spatial relations.  It almost sounds like math!


2 comments:

  1. Thank you for your great session at NAEYC. I have been following your blog for awhile, but seeing the videos really brought it all to life. So much joy in the laughter of those children! I am sure that I will be constructing something soon! Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks Jessica. I am glad you enjoyed it. There is joy and often it is in ordinary moments. That is why I still look forward to going into the classroom everyday. I hope you noticed that I added myself as a follower of your blog so I will get to see what you build. No pressure.

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