Sensory

children playing with a sensory treasure basket

Sensory play for children with SEN

“A treasure basket is an example of a sensory-rich and highly portable resource, making it a perfect ‘sensory snack’,” writes Sue Gascoyne. “ The sensory stimulation and hands-on approach is great for brain and memory development, gross and fine motor skills and strength.” Because there are no right or wrong ways of playing, sensory play of this sort can appeal to children with varying learning styles and abilities. Read on.

children creating artwork

How to create appealing, beautiful and purposeful habitats

The bowerbird, a native of Australia and New Zealand, is a curator of its nest. What can we learn from the bowerbird about being a curator of children's creative work and building inspiring learning spaces that tell them: "You are important"? Read this from Dr Sandra Duncan.

child touching polished stones and pebbles

The importance of sensory play

If there’s one thing in common about young children, it’s their ability to make a mess! Children learn best through direct experiences – exploring the world around them with their whole being. They stare, grab, smell, listen, rub, or lick unfamiliar objects, using all their senses to collect data that will be wired permanently into their memory.

 

If a child’s environment is too sterile or limited, they are deprived of this rich learning. What can parents and teachers do to offer diverse sensory experiences without becoming completely overwhelmed by the inevitable mess? Read this.

three boys playing in a stream

Using nature to help children academically

How can spending time outdoors help our children develop into enthusiastic academic learners? Ginny Yurich from Michigan, USA has some interesting insights and tips after spending thousands of hours outside with her five children. Read them here.

boy engaging in loose parts play with natural materials

The learning in loose parts

“The Lego was fought for, stringing beads spilled in anger, plastic animals broken by grabbing...as a teacher I was at my wits end with this particular group of children. They simply could not play harmoniously together,” relates Martha, an experienced preschool teacher.

 

“On a sudden inspiration I emptied all the tote pans and put the contents in storage. Then we went outside and collected natural objects to fill the pans: small rocks, twigs, acorns, pinecones, and bark. Once inside, we began constructing ‘dream houses’ using Plasticine to hold the sticks together. Soon tables, beds, and little pathways appeared. We kept the houses displayed and worked on them again and again. The old grabbing habits were gone – after all who ‘owns’ the things of nature?”

 

As Martha discovered, the best toys don’t come from a shop. Nature offers a wide assortment of loose parts that are captivatingly simple and empowering. Plus, they’re easy on the budget!

 

Although teachers have always known the great play value in natural materials, current research now validates the tremendous learning potential they offer as well. Read the article.

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