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Sunday, July 2, 2023

Learning and Growing

Can you believe how long it has been? It been a long time since we were together, right? 
I know you're wondering what I've been up to? Why have I been gone so long? 
Well, to make that long story short, those little kiddos I used to post, turned into teenagers and I decided 
it was time for me to go back to college. 

Why you ask? For them and for you...but mostly for me! It has certainly been a long journey and it is finally coming to an end of this chapter, an on to another one. I am very excited. 

The reason I am back today is I had this homeowork assignment to share an activity and incorporate what I have learned this semester. I thought it was a great opportunity to share with you some important aspects of early childhood that we've discussed in that past, but not quite in this way. 

Are you up for this? I know you would be friend! 

I'll share a fun activity and I'll talk you through those important aspects as we work. Let's get started! 

Here are some ideas of what you can use for this project. 

Colored Pencils or Crayons 
String or yarn 
Hole punch

However, you can choose any age-appropriate materials you have on hand. Leave the materials on the table and tell the child(ren) they are welcome to create whatever they want. 

Be prepared: 
Some students may get right in and start making something. 
Other students (like me) will look for more clarification. 
And there will be students who will play with the materials and create nothing. 

And guess what? That is perfectly okay! 

Yes, there are times where we (as parents and educators) want a picture perfect product for all to  admire. 
However, does that teach the child to think on his own? 
Does it allow for them to experience the materials? 
Does that teach the child creativity? 
Will the child learn to trust her own critical thinking skills? 

The answer to all of these questions is NO. Sitting the child next to you and directing a craft is NOT art. 
It does not allow time to feel, manipulate or experience the materials. A well thought out craft does not teach the child creativity or thinking skills. 

On the other hand, having available open-ended materials on hand allows for students to use their imagination. They'll try and see what works. They will learn the weight and height of the materials. They will attempt to open and close materials on their own. They will be using critical thinking skills, reasoning, and creativity. 

By facilitating an open-ended project you open the door for so many learning domains. 
Let's see how you have just "taught" without "teaching". 

Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards: 
  • The child being curious about the material: Approaches to Learning 
  • Using scissors, tearing paper is fine motor: Physical Development 
  • Using paper and writing utensils is prewriting skills: Language and Literacy
  • Creating Independently: Sensory Art Experience 
As an educator, you can enahance this open-ended project by incorporating some open-ended questions. 
  • Tell me what you're doing
  • How do you feel so far?
  • What will you do next? 
Last, be sure to display everyone's art work. 

Do you know the best thing about this project? It is great for diversity and inclusion. Everyone can play! 
Your special learners will get practice with materials without feeling rushed. You will have the freedom to assist when needed. 

Students who are learning English will have an opportunity to watch their peers use materials and listen to you and their peers using the Englisth language. 

In my learning and growing, I have come to understand our children need more child-directed activities, and less teacher-directed, cookie cutter, pretty Pinterest projects! 

There you have it friends! Pull out some open-ended materials, rotate the materials often, and allow enough time for children to explore and create. 

You just keep right on learning and growing with them. 

Read here for more information on using open-ended materials:

Yours Truly, 

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