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.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Oldie but goodie

Early in my building career, I constructed an apparatus using a small toddler water table, two five-gallon pails, two crates and two PVC pipes.  My sensory area was small---4' x 4'---and I wanted to expand it a bit with easy-to-find materials.  I cut one of the PVC pipes in half.  I taped it to the table and to the handle of the five-gallon bucket on the floor so the water would flow down into the bucket.  I set up the second PVC going the opposite way, from a five-gallon bucket back into the table.  This second pipe had a cutaway at the bottom.  To be able to pour water back into the table, I stacked two crates on top of each other for height and placed the second five-gallon bucket inside the top crate. 

I could have reversed the ends of this second pipe so the cutaway was on the high end making it easier for the children to pour water into the pipe.  Instead, I left it at the bottom and I inserted an empty plastic paint bottle that was cut to catch the water and direct it down the pipe.

 Empty quart tempera paint bottle

I cut the top of the bottle completely off.  Next, I cut away half the bottom of the bottle.  That allowed me to insert the uncut portion of the bottle into the pipe and tape it inside the pipe.
This little contraption allowed the children to pour water down the pipe more easily with less spillage.  Once the bottle was taped into the pipe, it was was strong enough to hold its shape.

I put little toy bath boats in the table and it was not long before the children figured out how to make them slide down the pipe. 
Essentially they figured out that pouring water behind the boat carried it down the pipe out into the pail.  They were experiencing first hand the power of hydraulic flow.  

These pictures were taken 28 years ago with film that had to be developed.  As a consequence, I have very few pictures to work from.  Here is my favorite.
What I appreciate about this picture is that it shows one of the children immersing his arm in the bucket of water.  He had a ball in his left hand and was probably fishing for another one.   So often adults regulate the depth of water that children can experience and it is usually quite shallow.  By allowing for different depths at this simple setup, children used their hands and arms to experience appreciable depth---at least up to the elbow. 

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