About Me

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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, March 21, 2015


Setting up a large box horizontally over the sensory table was just the beginning.  Besides the large windows all around the big box, there was a big hole in the bottom. 
 And a channel box was embedded in the top running across the width of the large box.

To this Big Box Big Windows apparatus, I added another good size box inserted through one of the windows and supported by a second, smaller sensory table.

I cut holes in both sides of the white box and on each end.  You cannot see the hole on the end that is embedded in the big box, but it is there.

I inserted the white box into the big box to the edge of the window and the hole in the bottom.  I cut the hole of the white box on the end inside the big box so there would be no lip. That way the children could move the pellets into and out of this second box simply by pushing or sweeping.

I embedded another box that traverses the white box from the top of the box to the bottom of the clear sensory table.
With the column box embedded this way, I have increased the stability of the white box and the whole apparatus.  I cut a hole in the side of the column box to offer children an opportunity to pour into the column.  It is an inviting operation because the children have to reach into one box to pour into another box.  If children pour in the column box, there has to be an outlet.  That is why I cut a hole at the bottom of the column box. 

There is also a hole in the top of the column box so children can pour from the top.  That makes two ways the children can get the pellets to the bottom of the table: through the hole in the side or through the top. 

How do children find this top hole?  Most of them are too short to see it from the floor.  What is the impetus for them to check out this top level?  I am not sure why.  I do know that they will find the highest level of an apparatus and they will appropriate it for their own purposes.  If there is no hole on top, they will just pile pellets up there; if there is a hole, they create their own physical challenge to see if they can pour it in the hole.  Watch.

This short video shows the child working with his whole body and mind on the single task of getting the pellets into the hole at the top of the box.  I especially appreciate how he moves the bowl away from the hole to make it easier to balance which makes it easier for him to pour because he no longer needs to reach over the bowl.  How did he know to do this?  Was it simply an intuitive move on his part?

Let's take a video tour of the apparatus with the new addition.  The video shows seven different children engrossed in seven different operations (or variations thereof) in seven different locations around the apparatus.

More often than not, the sensory table is a very active place in my classroom.  It is a space that the children take over and get totally lost in time and place.

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