Science

block play

Bring back the blocks!

For many young children, hands-on, sensory experiences with three-dimensional objects have been replaced by two-dimensional screens and worksheets. This is detrimental to their learning.

 

With all the evidence linking good spatial skills with future achievement in all STEM areas, we must find a way to bring back the blocks. “I am more convinced than ever that blocks are one of the most essential materials for the early childhood classroom,” writes Rosanne Regan Hansel. Read more.

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little boy sawing at the workbench accompanied by a practitioner

Working with wood in the early years

“Anyone who has witnessed young children tinkering away with tools in the woodworking area will know just how magical it can be,” writes Pete Moorhouse. However, despite the magic, many educators are afraid of the perceived risks involved in woodworking and the workbench has all but disappeared from many early years settings. Can this be remedied before we raise a generation of children who have never used a real tool in their life?

 

From his years of experience, Pete shares insights on the value of working with wood. The deep concentration, empowerment, and pride visible in the face of a child constructing with real tools will win over any sceptics. Read more.

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Outlast ramps

What happens when you add ramps?

"To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.”
– Sir Isaac Newton

Rollercoasters, slides, water chutes, why are they so fun? Perhaps humans are programmed to experiment with gravity. There are Isaac Newtons in every nursery, waiting to discover (and be discovered).

Add Outlast ramps to your block set and see what happens.


Baby exploring

Babies are scientists

Science is about making and testing hypotheses. This is what infants do all the time! They are continually experimenting and asking “What if” in actions rather than words. The first time a baby knocks a cup from the highchair, it’s an accident. Next time, it’s on purpose to check if the falling cup will cause the same intriguing splash on the floor and the same exciting noise from mum!

As long as these little investigators are surrounded by interesting things and as long as they feel secure, they will continue to investigate and learn. Their active brains have a lot to process. No wonder they sleep so soundly at the end of the day.

Go-cart

The school where go-carts form the core of the curriculum

Dozens of go-carts were the last thing I expected to find when visiting Trimdon Grange Nursery and Infant School. From the outside the school looked quite ordinary, but stepping inside I was confronted with go-carts constructed from scraps of wood, cardboard and salvaged pram or scooter wheels. The go-cart race next week will be attended by most of the community at this ex-mining village near Durham.

The Head, Catherine Worton, explained how these go-carts formed the core of the curriculum last term for Year 1 and 2. Children experienced how properties of various materials serve particular needs (Science). They learned about wheel and axle mechanisms and electrical circuits (Design technology). The project included instructional and explanatory writing (English) plus measurement of distance and time (Maths). Learning dispositions deepened: motivation, perseverance, and the success of using real tools to achieve satisfying results.

Doesn't it make you want to go back to school?

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