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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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


For the entire month of March, I wrote about box towers and play associated with this type of apparatus.  You can find those posts hereherehere, and here.  Can there really be anything else on box towers?

Yes, I have another box tower to show you.  This tower is formed by stacking boxes on top of each other to create a step or pyramid type structure.
As you can see, three boxes form the base, two boxes the next level and one box the top level. The boxes are approximately the same size so it was easy to tape them all together to make one unit.  (Can you tell from where I acquired the boxes?)

The impetus for building this apparatus was not that I wanted to build another box tower. Rather, I wanted to take advantage of some flat cardboard pieces I have been saving for over a year.
I cannot remember when and where I found eight of these small pieces of flat cardboard with precut holes.  I could not pass them up, though, because of the symmetry of the holes and the strength of the pieces.  The cardboard pieces are four ply, which means they have four layers of cardboard glued together which makes it much stronger than single ply cardboard.

When I was in the liquor store recently, I noticed that the tops of empty liquor boxes looked like they would match the dimensions of the cardboard pieces I had been saving.  (Did you guess the boxes were from the liquor store?  I did not cover up the writing on the boxes, but when I borrowed them to a colleague, she had to cover up any reference to booze on the box. Why?  Should I be more aware of the incidental environment I am creating?)  They were, in fact, a good fit so I was able to tape the cardboard pieces to the top of the boxes.

There are two other features of note about the structure itself.  First, all the holes in the top box have a clear view to the bottom of the structure, which is the bottom of the table.

Second, the second level has an inside ledge that is formed by covering the cardboard circles on the inside of the two outer boxes that are part of the base.

Those features make the structure more interesting, not only because they allow the children to work inside the structure, but they allow the children to work on multiple levels.

And where did that car go?

P.S.  This post is a day late because I was invited to Spring Valley, MN to do a Saturday morning workshop with early childhood educators and parents from the area.  I am always impressed at people's willingness to enter this process of building and creating unique structures to go at the sensory table.  I need to give a special thank you to Ann, the Early Childhood Family Education and School Readiness Director, for inviting me and making all the arrangements and being such a great host.

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