This week we have been busy rearranging the classroom to provide more areas of continuous provision. These areas allow children the opportunity to continue and extend their learning without adult direction. Between 7:50am and 9:00am each morning the children have a period of time we call 'Exploration.' During this time the children explore the unique areas of continuous provision in the classroom. All areas are carefully planned and materials thoughtfully chosen to engage, provoke thinking and challenge your child in his/her learning. While this may look like "play time," our morning Exploration is a valuable learning opportunity. I encourage you to ensure your child arrives at school early enough to have time to participate.
As part of our room rearrangement we added a water table. Young children can spend countless hours playing with water, pouring it back and forth, watching it spill over the edge of a container, blocking its stream, directing its flow and splashing gently. Water and a few tools can provide a sensory and learning experience of huge proportions, building the foundation for understanding of a multitude of scientific concepts, including the concepts listed below:
• physics - flow, motion
• chemistry - solutions, cohesion
• biology - plant and animal life
• mathematics - measurement, equivalence, volume
In addition to these scientific skills children are also developing their hand-eye coordination, strengthening gross motor skills, learning new vocabulary, engaging in talk about their discoveries and stretching their imaginations.
Whilst children may gravitate towards using simple, repetitive activities during water play, their experiences can be broadened with the use of ladles, straws, basters, and plastic droppers. These tools are challenging to manipulate correctly so that they draw in and expel water. Sifters and colanders add another layer of challenge and exploration. With experience, simple water play will give way to more precise and complex activities.
We have made our shelving more accessible for the children enabling them to obtain tools and materials easily whenever they need them. We have provided an array of tools allowing for an engaging learning experience, offering a range of challenge to the children.
You can read more about water play for young children in this article. http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=374