Small World play is extremely valuable. Small worlds allow you to be creative and expose children to 'set ups' they may later experience in real life, or to work on the children's interests. They are a great way to develop new ideas and ways of thinking.
Hi I am Dale from The Puzzle Connection & Puzzles Family Day Care in Sydney Australia. I am the owner and educator of a Day Care that operates from my home.
I have a strong belief that your environment reflects your personal philosophy and influences the learning potential for children
As I live in the middle of a ‘concrete canyon’ we call ‘suburbs’, bringing natural elements into children’s lives is so very important. How can we expect children to appreciate and care for our precious natural environment if we do not first give them the opportunity to explore and develop an understanding of it?
As space is limited in my setting, I lean towards setting up small worlds and provocations to involve and extend on the children’s current interests and evolving skills.
Along with natural loose parts I also incorporate sustainability in every aspect where possible.
Dry creek beds are found all over Australia. They are essential for directing water from rains during the wet seasons in some parts of the country. During the drier months the water soaks up to reveal sandy/rocky paths that are home to many native animals.
Dry Creek bed- Lizards: The children are still intrigued with the lizards that live in our garden. They follow them to try to find out where they live; but they are just too quick. Spotting a lizard always evokes excitement and lots of conversation. After this morning’s lizard hunt I suggested maybe it was time we did a bit of researching on our speedy neighbours. Using books and on-line sites we investigated where lizards may live apart from our garden and set about creating a replica of a natural habitat where the children would be able to play.
It was a collaborative effort to gather all the materials needed. Super strength was needed to carry all the rocks which of course the children had to stop and discuss now and then as “they are so smooth and look this one has lines on it”.
The children couldn't wait for the provocation to be finished and were engaged straight away transferring their interest from the real thing to the replicated environment. They used the reptiles to tell stories and even sing songs. The most obvious was incy wincy spider which Miss N sang with gusto as she crept the spider over the rocks. The dry creek bed allowed the children to connect with their interest in a safe supportive and enjoyable way throughout the day.
Learning Possibilities: Discovering and appreciating the Natural world; Enhancing literacy skills by creating and sharing stories; Opportunity to express emotions through dramatic play; Socialisation including collaboration, co-operation, negotiation, consideration and sharing of ideas; Exploring senses through the differing textures on offer; Transferring knowledge from one context to another but most of all, learning through PLAY.
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