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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, April 26, 2014

GIANT SPONGE - 2014

It has been more than two years since I wrote about a Giant Sponge in the sensory table.  A Giant Sponge is simply a big piece of foam cut to the dimensions of the water table.
Dish soap is squirted over the top of the sponge and water is added to the table.  I want enough soap and water to make good suds when the children squeeze the sponge but I do not want so much water that the sponge begins to float.

This year I added a wooden tray to the apparatus.  The tray connects the blue water table with another small water table.

The children used the addition of the tray for two main purposes.   The first was to hold containers on a different level and to pour and mix into and out of those containers.

The second purpose was to hold the suds the children created.  One group got really close to filling the tray with suds.

That amount of suds encouraged some in the group to experience the suds using their sense of smell.

One facet of the sponge is that it fosters physical exploration by the children.  Watch the video below to see how the children physically examine the sponges.


As you just saw, the physical exploration including squeezing a small sponge hard, smacking a small  sponge on the bottom of the pail, pressing down hard on the big sponge and hand pummeling the big sponge with force.

Here is another instance of physical exploration by the children.  In the video below the two children have filled a five gallon pail full of suds.  One of the boys decides it is time to dump it. The other boy is all in and even helps to get suds out with his spoon.  If you watch to the end you will see the excitement of the venture is palpable.


Imagine what the boys are experiencing.  The volume of the five gallon pail of suds is great but the weight is not.  How would this have played out if the pail was full of water instead of suds?  

Of course there is more than the physical exploration.  Some of the exploration verges on the ethereal.  Watch this final video to see a child slowly insert a plastic bottle into a full container of suds.  The result: a suds fountain.


I almost think the whole operation skirts the threshold of meditation.  If you listen to the conversation at the table, you might agree.  One of the boys at the table is collecting small sponges.  The fountain creator asks the him in the most serene voice: "To make cookies?"  He answers:  "Chocolate chip cookies."

I usually like my ethereal experiences with a side of chocolate cookies, too.








2 comments:

  1. I am very curious as to whatever happened to all those suds TomSensori?

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  2. I empty the table out after each class. I do not put the sudsy water down the drain because soap residue would built up. I bring the water and suds outside and dump it on the grass.

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