Our outdoor environment is very much part of the children’s early learning. Children are gatherers and collectors of things that they find in nature, materials that offer rich sensory experiences and excitement. This is the story of the children’s exploration of those materials.
It is Autumn, plants and trees are becoming dormant and decomposition is beginning. Drawing on the children’s instincts, we brought their collections inside for them to sort and examine. We set out to experience the process of transformation.
At the light table, the children remained engaged for a long time as they arranged, rearranged and played with the materials. When someone swooshed by, the breeze blew a leaf up and this gave Porsha the idea to blow the leaves and watch them float through the air. As she did this she exclaimed excitedly, “I am the wind! Look, I am the WIND!”
John Schevers was excited to see our interest in natural materials and came into the Center and taught us how to dye fabric using natural materials.
A small group of children dissected a sunflower that had been drying for months. We gave them real tools: tweezers, a knife, and the mortar and pestle. Molly was particularly interested in the stem, She discovered that she could write on the white foam they found inside the stem, just like paper. (This coincided with Molly’s interest in drawing on paper. She had recently mastered circles which she was being to add legs to).