Full disclosure: My classroom receives free curriculum each month in exchange for blog posts that document the authentic learning experiences in my program. The experiences are 100% my own and are not swayed by the agreement I have with Mother Goose Time.
One of the many things I love about Mother Goose Time curriculum, is the way that it allows me to individualize the curriculum based on the interest of the children. Last fall, we studied Community Helpers. One of the jobs we explored was a plumber. That was a hit with my class! In our curriculum kit each month are the majority of the supplies that we need, so on this particular day, we had large straws, pipe cleaners, paper tubes and a photo of a network of pipes provided for us. We merely added tape and teacher guidance.
First, we explored the plumbing in our classroom. We have a simple classroom, so the plumbing is exposed under the sinks. Not so great for aesthetics, however it proved to be WONDERFUL for this topic. We ran the water and listened to it travel through the pipes. This led to some lively conversations with the children as they shared plumbing emergencies that have occurred in their home. My assistant Mrs. Thon and I found this to be very entertaining!
From there, we moved on to the table. Their minds were full of ideas at this point. I asked questions about the photo of the plumbing, about their plans to use the materials on the table, etc. I sat back and watched their brilliant minds go to work. The Teacher Guide provides ways to simplify each activity or make it a bit more challenging. I especially appreciate the questions provided. It helps me jump start some incredible conversations with the children.
Before I offered assistance, I asked more questions.
I can always count on one child in particular to explore the Tinker and Scrap station, however, usually he will politely decline our “invitation to create” at the art table. This day was different. Our Invitation to Create activity station looked a lot like the Tinker and Scrap station so he was willing to check it out. He had so much fun creating that he asked if we could “do it again” the next day. Well of course we could!
His creations moved off the table and onto the floor.
We kept the loose parts in our building area and a smaller basket in our science and math area.
A musician was another job we explored. This time, the Tinker and Scrap station involved making your own instruments with loose parts. Guess who showed up eager to create? You guessed it!
These experiences have been rich with learning and skill building. The mere problem-solving aspect alone is an excellent exercise of the mind. Add counting, taping, connecting, threading tubes into larger tubes, and you are strengthening fine motor skills that are necessary for writing, cutting and reading. The children don’t have a clue about any of that. They think that are becoming plumbers or musicians and have no idea the foundation of skills that are being developed. That is just the way we want it.
Create, wonder, pretend and explore little children.
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