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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, July 16, 2016

Hand pump II

For many years,  I wanted to set up a water pump inside.  Last year for the first time I finally set up a hand pump in the sensory table.  The pump was purchased from Kodo Kids.  This is how I installed it last year.

I could have set up the apparatus the same way this year, but I usually don't work that way.  For me, I have to construct it anew.  What effect does my playing have on the children's play?

I made a few minor changes this year.   A couple of the changes were made in the initial setup and a couple of them were made after I saw how the children played with the apparatus.

The first change was that I connected the pipes on a straight, horizontal line traversing the blue table.  To make that work and to support the pipe, I had to set the crate on the end that gave this section of the apparatus the most height.  
I also changed the orientation of the second table: instead of it being perpendicular to the blue table, I placed it next to the table on one of its longer sides.  As a consequence, that changed the orientation of the crate.

These small changes created a significant change in the space in and around the crate.  The new height of the pipe and the crate orientation created a bigger space for the children's operations.
The space was now more open.  Not only was it more open within the crate, but spaces were created on either side of the crate.  Though the new spaces next to the crate were small, they were still big enough enough to accommodate four children at the same time in their operations. Speaking of accommodation, the children's accommodation in the space is not too shabby, either.

There were two changes I made after I saw how the children messed around with the apparatus.  Both of the changes can be surmised from the picture above.  If you look closely, you can see a small gap between the two water tables.  As a consequence, there was a lot of spillage.  The second change was with the blue funnel.  For the children's operations, it proved to be too small, so again there was a lot of spillage.

In the picture below, you can see the changes I made after watching the children explore the setup.  By the way, the red funnel is connected to a hose that brings the water back to the pumping tub so the water keeps circulating between the two tables.

Here is closer look at the apron I made to close the gap between the two tables.  It is made entirely out of duct tape.  It may not be pretty, but it worked as intended.

One of the reasons the blue funnel was not big enough was because the size of the pans that were set out for the children to use.  One pan in particular seemed to grab the children's attention.
This is a water pan for a dog.  It is light, made of metal and has a wide mouth.  And thus the need for a bigger funnel.

There is one final note about this set up.  When the children really start pumping, the duct tape by itself was not enough to keep the connections secure.  As a consequence, I also taped a wood rod underneath to make the line of pipes more rigid and less prone to disconnecting.
That is especially true when the children pull the pump from the side which they will do especially if they are smaller.

That was the technical.  Next week will be the operational brought to you in a way only the children know how.   

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