Saturday, February 12, 2011

Curiosity the fuel of early childhood. Curiosity the fuel of life.

What a powerful phrase to capture what learning is for life.  I was reading "Junior Horizons" (Vol 11, No. 1) when I came upon this article "The fuel of early development- Curiosity".  I know that as a teacher and learner alongside 3 and 4 year olds that my learning happens everyday in many different ways and the cycle of learning never stops.  At Nayland Kindergarten we want children to be motivated to be curious and be motivated to learn, so providing opportunities for them to explore is just part of what we do.
Children are curious social beings, they explore, question and wonder and the more often they are able to explore and discover the more they will repeat the process.
This week settling back into kindergarten after a long time away took a little bit of time and with the support of the teachers and their peers.
Providing tactile, sensory experiences in groups is often the way to reconnect children with the environment and their peers and teachers and stirs their curiosity to engage.

Exploring oobleck provided just that opportunity!
There was a number of learning opportunities happening as children were observing, exploring, experimenting, measuring and testing their working theories about how this material feels.     This is science in action, as mixing water and cornstarch does something unusual when mixed together - (try it out at home -google Oobleck)
The substance becomes a liquid, but when squeezed in your hands, it becomes solid. Two things commonly cause this type of change—temperature and pressure. You can
roll Oobleck into a ball, but when 
the rolling stops, it will become a
liquidy mess!  As the children experimented the adults were exploring it as well, curiosity is the fuel of life as it starts from birth (or before some might suggest) and children will continue to be curious if we value it.  We started with one bowl of yellow oobleck and one of blue and before long the children had noticed it changing colour and yes we did dye some children green for the day.  Oh and some adults too.
The next day the children experimented with white oobleck and then we turned it into finger paint with some hot water.
 The following day the children returned to the water play area where they saw the bowls set up again and they were soon settled and busy.
Settling back into the kindergarten had taken no time at all and the conversations and explorations going on were just magic.
So what was some of the learning?
Water, finger paint and oobleck provide children with opportunities to understand basic science concepts such as gravity, color, water pressure, movement and properties.
They are developing maths concepts as they explore weight, volume,measurement, counting,
shape and size, classifying, and explore their
own physical capabilities.
Literacy concepts are explored as children
use language to describe their experiences and
add meaning to their hands on play. When teachers work alongside children as they explore sensory experiences and the many concepts associated with it,  it relevant and meaningful which makes it powerful learning for children and adults.
Curiosity grows confidence in social learning and   it may just lead to a cafe starting up in the sandpit alongside, with baking and making coffees (don't you just love our wonderful Nelson Cafe culture) and exploring maths again as they explore the value of money.  $10 for a slice of cake or $1 for a flat white- I will be back to have a coffee that is for sure.

No comments: