February 7th, 2020
This week we will discuss:
mark making, transformation play, building, and small groups
We introduced a large plexiglass structure this week. We provided black paint, inviting children to use their fingers and hands to apply paint to the wall. Some requested paintbrushes. They used the brushes to create big blotches of paint on both sides of the wall. We have also been noticing the Sprouts making marks through the act of erasing. This has been especially evident on our whiteboards. After covering spaces with lines, children have been using their fingers and hands to erase parts of the lines, causing “negative space” markings. Because of this, we decided to cover the plexiglass wall with wet paint and provide cotton swabs for the children to draw lines by wiping away the paint. They used the cotton swabs to make swirling lines in the paint. As they were exploring this space, the paint dried and the cotton swabs were no longer effective for wiping away the paint. We then offered short wooden dowels which the children used to scrape away the dry paint. As children explored mark making on the plexiglass, we’ve witnessed moments when they’ve noticed each other on the opposite side. We’re curious how these interactions impact their creations.
Transformation play is still going strong. We see it in all spaces, during all parts of the day. A theme that continues to come up is monster play. The children love to discover a monster, scream, run away, and hide. They repeat this pattern over and over again. At first, the same couple children were always the monster, but we’ve noticed that more children are adopting this role. We think this play is so appealing because it allows them to engage in big movements. Family play continues to be a major theme too. The Sprouts are taking care of the baby dolls and going to their shared homes together. They pretended to eat the wooden fruit when they are feeling hungry. This week, we noticed William pretending to be the teacher. His friends sat around him as he sang our Hello song and held their photos up.
We added cotton balls to our sensory table. Franco brought a cardboard cylinder to the sensory table and filled it with cotton balls. He added wooden sticks to the top and called it a “birthday cake.” Then he brought the cake to a friend and started singing happy birthday to them. When some cotton balls fell to the floor he picked them up and started throwing them over our plexiglass structure yelling, “snowball!” His friends joined in.
Outside they discovered big pieces of cardboard and transformed them into different things, such as surfboards.
Building is a building block of children’s play, it is something that children of this young age are always quite fascinated by. However, unless you have seen a group of two and three year olds swarm a table of magnet tiles, you cannot comprehend the obsession and engagement of building. Building is always something our kids dabble in here and there, but recently we have noticed an increased interest in this area. Outside the sprouts found a small box of magnet tiles on a shelf on the playground and every day they would bring them out again, creating small structures, constantly bartering with one another for the limited resources. Noticing this interest (and the constant conflicts of not having enough) we brought a large basket of the tiles into the classroom and the children reacted as though Santa himself had hand-delivered them. They swarmed the table and began creating. We love how interesting and engaging the magnet tiles are, but we have run into problems in the past where the children become so fixated on the tiles they do not engage in any of the other materials. We are going to try to encourage their interest in this material, but also try to keep a balance.
As we discussed last week, we have started separating into small groups to work more intimately on activities and skills. This week we decided on names for our groups based on the interests and discussions we had with the children. One group is Ms. Rebekah’s Kangaroos. The other group is Ms. Madison’s Robots. Below shows the group separations. From now on we will be referring to the groups by these names! Reminder: the small group time is held 12:15-12:30. We appreciate those of you who have made this accommodation in your schedule to support this small group time!
We are quite inspired by the obsession with the magnet tiles. The magnet tiles allow for open-ended creations so it is a toy that we support having in our classroom, but how can we create a balance between these toys and the other areas of the room? How can we encourage children to grow and expand their exploration to ensure they have variety and engage in well-rounded play? What is it about these tiles that magnetizes the children? Is it because unlike blocks they create a secure connection to another piece that allows for more stable constructions, similar to legos? We find that the children often combine the tiles and create a cube, perhaps it is the ease at which they can create three-dimensional objects. Are there other toys besides legos that share these qualities?
Have a great weekend!
Ms. Rebekah, Ms.Madison, and Ms. Lala