Children were encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to create a small world for animals. They worked cooperatively, using tree blocks, tree cookies, rainbow stacks and pine cones. They built caves and hiding places, lakes and trees.
I watched them build their small world and add the animals to high and low places.
As I observed their actions and listened to their play, I was able to determine their interest. The following is a conversation between two boys at the table.
Nicolas picked up a turtle and attacked a bird with it. “Turtles don’t eat birds” said Jack. “They eat sponges” he explained. “Sponges? What are sponges?” asked Nicolas. “Sponges in the sea” replied Jack. “My turtle eats birds” Nicolas replied.
During circle/ group time, I asked them what they would like to learn about turtles. These are the questions they had:
What do turtles eat?
Can sharks eat turtles?
Could sharks break turtle shells with their teeth?
Books and pictures were set out for the children to document what they notice about Turtles and tortoises. We read books to learn about where turtles live, what they eat, etc.
A simple provocation was set out for them to notice the different shapes, textures, and patterns of shells.
Pictures of other animals that have protective shells were also left out for them to explore and question.
Children were encouraged to create patterns on their paper turtle shells.
They were encouraged to use clay to make a turtle or a tortoise. They practiced their grasping and hand manipulation skills. They refined their gross and fine motor skills by building their structures that required a balanced and steady hand as well as hand-eye coordination. Their attention to detail and their choice of colours were simply beautiful.
I had recently attended “Shiny Fish Project” presentation by Will Parnell. This workshop talked about providing children with materials that could be reused over and over again to create art. Open ended, loose, everyday materials are provided for children to use their creativity and imagination and make non permanent art.
Materials were set out for them to create turtles.
A couple of sensory activities were provided to stimulate their senses and facilitate exploration. These experiences encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate, and explore.