In my classroom children are viewed as powerful individuals who want to seek and build their own knowledge. The curriculum allows them to learn as they explore the world around them; and the exploration provides an avenue for hypothesizing, questioning, and problem solving. Such real experiences provide opportunities to learn about science, social studies, math, and literacy.
In my work, I find that beautifully arranged materials in the environment with a particular focus in mind, allows children to discover and eagerly work with the materials. They construct their own knowledge by sharing ideas and theories and seeking more information. Children learn more from open-ended materials and have more of a chance to be creative and individually expressive. Materials are arranged in specific ways that suggest new possibilities and are engaging and natural for their active learning.
These playful and captivating collection of hands-on invitations are used in a number of ways:
- These invitations respond to an emerging interest in a subject
- These invitations help children learn new skills and multiple uses for tools and materials that are part of the environment.
Children have a natural curiosity to add things to water. An invitation with natural materials, found on our walk, seemed like a great way to learn about predicting and finding answers. I set an invitation for children to test whether each material will sink or float.
Children were invited to make boats with sheets of aluminum foil. They designed the shape with a little help from me and then tested how many things each boat would hold. They were encouraged to write down their findings; allowing them to practice their literacy and math skills.
Further more, children were encouraged to use Lego to make boats. They were asked to see how many rocks their boats will hold.