One challenge we face is that some of the questions children ask are linked to unobservable phenomena such as death, decay and disappearance. It is these aspects of connection to the natural world that are often the least well-defined, but they can be the ones that fascinate children.
After six years of facilitating professional development sessions on the exploration of materials with teachers, I am more convinced than ever that blocks are one of the most essential materials for the early childhood classroom.
The last few years have seen a surge of interest in woodworking in early years education. Some settings are starting from scratch, while for others it’s a case of dusting down the workbench and digging out the tools after many years of neglect.
From infancy to adulthood, people enjoy sand and water. Young children like to play with sand and water and find such play satisfying.
Puddles, spray bottles, garden sprinklers, and backyard wading pools bring back gleeful memories of childhood. It is simply fun to play in water.
The best learning environments are informal and naturalistic outdoor nature-scapes where children have unmediated opportunities for adventure and self-initiated play, exploration and discovery.
Mud is an art medium, one that we can mold, dry, and decorate. Unlike many other media, mud permits us to make mistakes.
The beauty of sand is one of the few manipulatives that truly allows children to explore their imaginations.
Traditionally the sand area has provided opportunities for manipulation, construction, and discovery as children experiment with pouring, digging, and mixing sand with water.