Hide the baskets and bags
“The minute I set up an invitation or provocation to learning, someone comes along and snaffles all the resources! “
“The minute my back is turned everything is gone!”
“Who is the culprit that ruins all my hard work? It took me ages to set that up!”
“Why can’t they just leave stuff on the table? Stop moving the construction from the construction area/ carpet to somewhere else ! Ahhhhhhh
“Stop filling your baskets with stuff, other children need to play there!”
“Go and put that back please, you can’t just walk around all day with stuff”.
Let’s remember construction or any type of play doesn’t just happen in a designated area or on a designated carpet. The environment should be a one BIG holistic play space, a place to move, combine and transport items, a place where play and learning happens without specific areas.
2. Are the statements above ones you can relate to?
A sentence you’ve heard yourself uttering as you watch a child busily taking their freshly made play dough cakes and attempting to wander across the room to the home ‘corner’ and pop them in the pretend cooker.
Do you set up resources at the beginning of the day and miraculously they’ve all moved, vanished, deposited elsewhere or found outside ?
Do you have children whose only desire (it seems) is to fill up handbags and baskets and wander around all day collecting stuff from around the room?
Maybe you have a child who just constantly fills up the trailer on their truck and wheels it about the garden all day?
Perhaps you can recall a particular child who constantly has bulging pockets or can be found depositing random items to their collection or a pile somewhere in the room?
Oh my goodness, these actions can sometimes cause us such frustration, where have all the pencils gone?
Where have all the loose parts gone off this table ?
Are you concerned that stuff is getting mixed up, moved and transported ?
Have you spent ages setting up a beautifully created tuff tray only to have the contents disappear or moved within two seconds flat?
We have spoken recently about how children learn and that through play they are exploring, investigating and making sense of the world around them. It is a schematic learning style or commonly known as a schema. We simply explain these as a child’s favourite way of playing, their impulses,urges and a desired way to do things! Repeated patterns in their behaviour.
Let’s remember children aren’t moving stuff about, mixing things up because they get up one morning and think, ‘I know what I’m going to make my key person’s, parent carer’s day tough today “ I’m just going to switch up the whole room and walk about moving stuff about all day”.
That’s not it!
Let’s pause, to wait, watch and wonder what’s actually going on here!
Have you ever stopped to watch, notice the individual ways children DO Things ?
Repeat ‘DO’ things!
We are not asking you to notice WHAT they ‘LiKE’ playing WITH!
But what are the actions, urges and impulses children have?
Those repetitive actions or behaviours.
The repeated ways they DO something?
Over recent times we have talked about ‘schematic learning styles’ how through certain actions children are constructing meaning, assimilating information.
The child who has a fascination with moving stuff?
Or even moving THEMSELVES?
Let’s recognise this is a schematic learning style or URGE (of which there are many) This one is called quite simply a ‘transporting’ schema.
So! How can we support a child with this particular urge or learning style?
Instead of stopping children in their tracks, instead of halting them as they (what we assume) is a desire to just mess up the place or intentionally have all the resources for themselves .
WAIT WATCH WONDER
Notice, pause, be mindfully aware of the intentions, the ideas, the urge, purpose, the compulsion, the desire, the assimilation and compounding of information.
The cognitive development.
Notice instead what they are doing!
Where are they going with stuff?
Maybe they are not actually going anywhere at all - remember also:
We have to always relate schemas to the stage of cognitive development of a child (see other posts about cognitive developmental stages as explained by Piaget!).
WAIT WATCH WONDER and notice the concentration, the determination, the joy, happiness, the complete unawareness of anyone else in the room!
They are lost in the FLOW of play.
They are deeply engaged in a ‘self chosen play experience.
They are learning !
No! It might not make sense to us and that’s OK but it does to the child!
So next time you say - “Leave that stuff on the table please, other children might need it”
Consider what ideas, play opportunities for learning are you stopping in its tracks?
Do you know the schematic learning style of a child?
How can we support a child with a ‘transporting’ schema? How can we create rich powerful play spaces and YES opportunities?
A wealth of bags, baskets, purses, trolleys, wheel barrows,
Allowing them to fill, move and transport!
Jugs, buckets, containers for sand water play and that texture kitchens
Children will use the items how they desire, if they are moved from that area, pause and look at WHAT they are doing !
Turkey basters or pipettes for water play. Syphoning up and depositing to another place, container ?!?!
provide ample loose parts, provide
big collections of things.
Large loose parts outside too
Crates, tyres, movable items
Den making equipment
Make travelling journey sticks
Unpacking and moving resources.
Putting the shopping away
Tidying up/ back where things belong.
Finally a holistic play space not confined by areas, specific mats, zones and places resources must remain
Allow it to be mixed up and moved
Ensure you have larger quantities and collections of stuff children CAN move.
Before you say: “Who is going to tidy up all this stuff afterwards?”
Remember replacing and returning items, tidying up are all opportunities for learning too and they love to transport things back again too.
Is it us that needs to change our mindset instead of expecting children to conform to a specific way of playing?
How can we meet the learning styles of individual children?
What can WE do more This is all part of our Curiosity Approach pedagogy and what we discuss in the academy
Why not get yourself our Curious resource, it opens into an A2 poster, enabling you to place it in a frame and display on your wall for parents, carers and colleagues to read!
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