Thursday, October 27, 2011
For the "dumpers"
How do you have everything out and in glass containers without things getting broken or destroyed?
We know that seeing some of our “Environment” pictures can be overwhelming and seem completely undoable. It takes time, effort, TRUST, and patience to have everything accessible to the child, but its soooooooo worth it in the long run. Not only is it empowering to the child, but it also strengthens the parent/child relationship because in essence we are telling them – “you are capable”, “I trust you” (that must feel so good to them). We draw inspiration from the Reggio Emilia Philosophy, which is all about inspiring environments and having materials readily available to the child. Our play rooms have been built brick by brick, per say. Whenever we introduce a new element or material, we explore it, talk about it, and learn about its function and how to handle it together. We have taught our children from a very young age how to handle things with care and how to respect their environment. Accidents are just learning opportunities and messes are not typically an issue because our children have been gently guided to use the materials in functional ways. We don’t shy away from dumping and pouring (messes), we just give them appropriate outlets to do so. We are admittedly present with our children most of the day – and there was lots of supervision in the playrooms when they were younger. Give it a go, take baby steps, and you will see amazing things happen!
Elaboration on Dumping and Pouring
Yes, our children dump and pour with the best of them... some more than others. Ak's son and my oldest were never big "dumpers". My youngest was a different story. She LOVED to dump. This probably went on between 11M-16M?? Instead of taking away or limiting her environment and taking away something from my oldest... we explored together. Everything that was available to my oldest, was available to my youngest... despite their 17M difference. I also do not plan on taking anything away from them when our newest addition gets here in less 2 weeks. Everything will be left out to explore and create!
My oldest (17M) and AK's son (15M) exploring a dumped container of acrylic shapes. Yes, you may dump that. Yes, we will explore it together!
Giving them other appropriate outlets to dump and pour also helps. "I know you would really like to dump that. That would be LOTS of fun! Let's get some bowls and cups to dump with."
22 Months and 5 Months
"You want to dump those? Those look like they would be fun to dump on the light box! Let's bring it out and turn the lights off!"
Exploring a dumped container of gems. Yes, obviously you want to be fully present when they are this young. I often like to lay out a white blanket to explore on. It makes the background simple and the objects they are exploring really stand out.
An empty container was always on hand when my youngest was going through the "dumping stage". "If you would like to dump that, you may dump it here."
I love the look of wonder on her face here. It is amazing the things that can happen when we put our trust into them.
These next few pictures were taken today. My youngest is 20 Months old now. I am so happy that my camera was upstairs! I love when I can capture moments like this to share with you. This really touched me this AM and just reinforced my love for child led play. My youngest is now over the dumping stage. Yes, you can get there, too! Sorry for the half nakedness and crazy hair! LOL It was early.
Before I got to my camera she took out a piece of paper, glue, and glitter. The picture below is her now going for the colored pasta.
Carrying it to the art table.
Adding to her masterpiece :-)
Putting it back after she was done... with no prompting or guidance. Yes, your child can do this, too!
When I asked her what she was making.
"Rain, Mommy. Rain, rain, go away"
What a beautiful rain shower it is!
This is why our materials stay out at all times. This is why we put in the time and effort to teach and to explore together. This is why we trust our children.
Give them an opportunity and YOU WILL see amazing things happen.