About Me

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Early childhood education has been my life for over 40 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, June 18, 2016

New element for the channel board

I have built a couple different channel boards over the years.  The first one I built was made of wood.
One of the main objectives with this type of apparatus was to have children explore how water flowed down and over different textures.

The first one was heavy and cumbersome so I built a second one using lighter materials that were more impervious to water.

For both channel apparatus, I would continually look for something new to fill the channels.  This year, I found something new in a dumpster that looked promising.  I do not dumpster dive much anymore, but I could not resist the plunge when I saw the object below sticking out of  a dumpster.

I had no idea what this was.  It was white; it was metal; and the cross pieces had tiny holes.  I thought if I could nest it in one of the channels, the children would create a beautiful cascade with water gushing through the holes and dancing over the cross pieces.

By pure chance, the new element fit perfectly into one of the channels; all I needed to do was tape it into the channel.  As far as the other channels go, one channel was kept clear and the third channel had DRICORE squares all up and down the channel.

I usually set up the channel board with water, but this year I was experimenting for the first time with mud in the sensory table.  The mud was pretty clean as far as mud goes because I used Jurassic Sand to make the mud.  Since Jurassic Sand is so fine, I still thought that as children poured the mud down the ladder-like element, they would still experience the cascading affect, just more of an oozing cascade.

That was not the case at all.  Instead, the mud would not flow over the ladder-like element.  The children put mud inside the little compartments, but when they poured loose mud or water down the channel, water and sand flowed under the cross pieces.

Leave it to the children to invent their own use for all the little spaces created by the cross pieces: a dinosaur ladder

I was disappointed because I thought the children would encounter a beautiful cascade.  There are two important lessons here: 1) There are unlimited possibilities for provisioning the channels; 2) No matter what my original idea may be, the children will do with it what they will. 

P.S.  I will be presenting at a virtual conference by Fairy Dust Teaching that begins on July 11th.  It is the fourth year for the conference and can be viewed anytime without travel or hotel costs.  Here is the link to the conference:  https://io156.isrefer.com/go/summer16/tpbedard/

In an effort for full disclosure, Fairy Dust Teaching gives me a % of the registration through this link.  If you register before June 25th you can get a 20% discount on the conference by using the code save20

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