Tag Archives: play

A Different Kind of Water Wall

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With the excitement of summer coming and a bit of sunshine amidst all of the rain and wind today, a quick look around in the shed ended in this makeshift attempt of a water wall, if you can call it that. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun. Warm water, funnels, cups, PVC pipes, and the curiosity of infants. I cannot wait to see what resources we can collect and new ways we can put them together to create an inviting and challenging space for tamariki to learn.

Most tamariki love playing with water. There is something magical about the natural element of water through the variety of opportunities, endless resources and open ended play, and the smiles it puts on children’s faces.

“It is not about the blocks or the dough. It is about the activity being the vehicle for the acquisition of the disposition to learn” ~Margaret Carr (2008)

This quote provides great reflection when thinking about the importance of dispositions toward children’s ongoing learning and the activities we set up or resources that we provide. Water helps to develop multiple dispositions such as curiosity, playfulness, resourcefulness, and collaboration. Not all children enjoy water. For some, water play might be about the confidence that develops. Although the water space might remain the same throughout the day, each child’s play will result in learning that is different to those that they are playing alongside. Isn’t that fascinating? As a teacher, it challenges us to be thinking on so many levels and supporting each child’s needs to further develop their individual learning. I am excited for summer and all of the wonderful activities and learning to come.

Check out Let the Children Play for other ideas on creating a water wall and other inspiring play ideas.

Washing the house and cars on a rainy day? Here is a quick look at some of the water play Zaedyn enjoyed over the weekend…

Hose

Mud

“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” ~E.E. Cummings

Carr, M. (2008) Presentation to Hui Topu – Professional Development for Early Childhood Education. May 28th, Wellington.

Buzz & a Puddle: The Joys of Childhood

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Zaedyn Tai & Buzz

Buzz liked to follow Zaedyn…

…even to the puddle!

Pekepeke ~ Jumping in his Gummies

A bit uncertain about falling in the puddle

…though he decided to get up and happily carry on playing, even with his wet bum.

     What wonderful learning opportunities & excitement this morning: a lamb and a puddle! As sheep exist all over the country, it is great for Zaedyn to enjoy opportunities to learn about lambs. He has had a few visits from lambs already and is building his love for them as well as all animals. Even when Buzz was following him and getting a bit excited looking for his milk, Zaedyn remained curious and interested. Buzz just seemed to keep appearing near Zaedyn. I couldn’t help but wonder and try to interpret what he was thinking. I loved seeing Zaedyn so happy with this lamb. As an abandoned triplet, too common amongst sheep, Buzz has been given hope. He seemed to be quite happy drinking his bottle, and I think that he had a pretty fun day being loved by lots of little toddlers.

     Why not let tamariki jump in puddles? We can change wet clothes, but we cannot give them some of the wonderful learning opportunities that can occur in nature and the freedom to play if we stop them from exploring. I was actually really excited when Zaedyn started jumping in the puddle. His face was full of joy, & I believe that nature encourages children’s imagination. The puddle also provided for social interaction where he watched and jumped in the puddle alongside his good friend as they were both filled with pure excitement. There was even learning happening through Zaedyn’s fall in the puddle to getting past his wet bottom and happily carrying on to play. Who knew how much learning and fun could take place this morning with the surprise visit from Buzz, the lamb, & a puddle left from the evening rain.

Free to Explore

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Zaedyn was part of the Educational Leadership Project Seminar

“There are many transition moments in a day. Some are the big ones like settling into a new centre. Others involve children moving from play to care moments like lunch or sleep. It is the way teachers invite children into these experiences that says so much about teacher intentions, values, abilities and skills. This seminar looks at wise practice around transitions, from those first steps through the doors, to transition to school and those moments between. Relationships are the key here and we consider how we ensure children are listened to, families are supported and respectful, responsive engagements are embedded in our moment by moment practice.”

This is what I attended this afternoon along with a few other teachers from around the Waikato region. A seminar about transitions from the Educational Leadership Project (ELP), and Zaedyn Tai was projected onto the screen freely playing with gloop and then paint on the next slide. My face lit up with a smile when I saw him up there. Carol Marks, an ELP facilitator, has been joining our centre meetings to support us through in-centre professional development as well. Currently supporting us through social competence, she looked through some of our profile books and gave me positive feedback around the affording environment provided through the fun and delight of paint experiences and thinking about the learning analysis around Zaedyn’s interest, experimenting, and creativity through paint. Of course I was thrilled and happy to send some photos through to her when she asked for permission to use them in her seminars, and I was even more excited to see them being used today.

From both a teacher and mother’s perspective, I can reflect positively on some of the experiences that I have provided for Zaedyn, recognising and noticing opportunities to extend his interests and encourage his sense of curiosity. Through this ongoing professional development with ELP and their Inspiration Day that was held in Hamilton back in June, I feel strongly supported within the professional community toward some of my goals and ideas within my teaching practice and the way I strive to enable tamariki to be curious explorers within their environment. ELP’s big focus has been around improvement and innovation, and I have been told by a few that I have been very strong in demonstrating this.

For those of you who don’t know, I previously worked with Toddlers from 18 months to around 3 1/2 years and returned to work from maternity leave to teach 3 month to 18 month old infants. What a huge transition this has been for me. Although there has been mixed thoughts and a lot of reflections through uncertainty, it is times like these where reassurance about my practice including experimenting new approaches motivates me to continue teaching. There are many different ways of doing things, but at this time I feel confident with the goals that I am working toward achieving. Thank you to all of those who continue to challenge and support me, especially you little ones who make me question, innovate, and allow me to make observations in order to support your ongoing learning. My teaching practice revolves around you :).

Besides making me think and reflect upon my own personal transition and teaching practice, this seminar was very thought provoking in the way we respond to children’s needs and support them daily. I love the idea about their mauri life force and being in a state of balance. As teachers and parents it is important that we develop relationships where we respond to children’s needs and are flexible as they learn who they are and make sense of their world. Let children play and explore.