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Early childhood education has been my life for over 30 years. I have taught all age groups from infants to 5-year-olds. I was a director for five years in the 1980s, but I returned to the classroom 22 years ago. My passion is watching the ways children explore and discover their world. In the classroom, everything starts with the reciprocal relationships between adults and children and between the children themselves. With that in mind, I plan and set up activities. But that is just the beginning. What actually happens is a flow that includes my efforts to invite, respond and support children's interface with those activities and with others in the room. Oh yeh, and along the way, the children change the activities to suit their own inventiveness and creativity. Now the processes become reciprocal with the children doing the inviting, responding and supporting. Young children are the best learners and teachers. I am truly fortunate to be a part of their journey.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Transporters

Below is a generic five-gallon bucket that can be found in any hardware store.  It is set up next to the water table all the time no matter what apparatus is in the sensory table because I have learned that children need to take whatever is in the table out of the table.  The child in the picture below is simply taking the water from the table and pouring it in the bucket.  Like all children, this child is fulfilling an inherent need to transport.



I am not sure why children feel this need to transport, but children made that need abundantly clear to me the first time I set out a pail next to the sensory table.  I have since learned that it does not need to be a bucket or a pail.  Rather, it just has to be a container next to the table.  For instance, it can be a large plastic storage bin.
Another example that I like to set out next to the main blue sensory table is a clear toddler sensory table that makes a fine repository for all their transporting needs. 
It can even be a homemade container.  Below, the container is a cardboard box positioned outside the table on the floor and connected to the table with a ramp.
 
That urge to transport is so strong that the children will fashion their own "pails" next to the table.  The child pictured below is transporting into several small containers she has set on the floor. 

Some of the transporting by children can be quite creative.  The child is transporting the water into the bucket that is in a bigger tub.  That makes for less of a mess but a lot more planning and execution.
This picture also highlights that children will transport indirectly into the containers next to the table.  This child is using the black tube connected to the funnel to get the water into the yellow pail.  Cognitively, she has to make the connection between pouring the water into the funnel and the water dropping into the pail. 

The children will even put together their own contraption to transport indirectly.  Below, the child takes a loose cardboard tube and props it against a window of the apparatus.  On the other end, he positions a bowl to catch the sand coming down the new path he creates to transport the sand from the table into his container.

On the right hand column of the blog the very first axiom states that children need to transport.  That is true even for very young children.  The toddler in the video below is visiting my room and playing at the water table.  What does he do?  Without any encouragement or instruction, he starts scooping the water from the table and pours it in the green bucket next to the table.


By giving children an outlet to constructively transport, I change what they are doing and who they areThey are not dumping; they are transporting.   They are not a dumpers; they are transporters. 

Which one sounds better to you, dumpers or transporters? 
 

2 comments:

  1. Your blog is so informative and wonderful, thank you for sharing it. I was curious as to what type of mat the children are standing on at the sensory table?

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    1. The mat is actually two long mats. I bought them at a hardware store where they could be cut to length. One side is smooth and the other side is ribbed. I got it in the carpet section and I think it is called a runner.
      I am glad you find the blog informative. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. Thank you.

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