Whenever a child focuses their interest for a period of time – gets intensely involved in some activity of their own choosing – that is where the best learning will occur.
Enclosure seemed to be a prominent ‘urge’, so we began setting up invitations to cater for and extend this interest.
I decided to take Jeremy’s question of “What is inside a calculator?” as my motivation to set up a ‘De-construction Table’.
We had sourced a selection of broken/unwanted electrical appliances, as well as a new set of diverse small screwdrivers. I started with a small table, and a few small appliances. The interest was fast . The interest was strong. The bug quickly caught on and before I knew it, a much larger table had to be set up.
Children use dispositions to construct their own learning environment from the array of experiences on offer.
The children were ready, willing, and able to learn. They had the confidence, the motivation and the intention.
They were purposeful and persistent; working towards a set goal, showing determination at removing a stubborn screw, trying a range of options with the various screwdriver heads, and demonstrating commitment and perseverance while sticking at an activity.
They were curious; investigating and asking numerous questions.
They were courageous; trying new things and overcoming many challenges.
They were co-operative; working together as a team with a shared purpose.
I sought out children’s ideas on what they would like to happen next, through informal conversations. “Robots! Lots of them! Keep all the small parts we are de-constructing, and put them back together in a different way!”
Where to next?
- Further encourage manipulative control and skill with a variety of tools in a safe, supervised environment.
- Encourage the use of tools to ‘construct’ rather than deconstruct, letting their imagination unfold with the possibilities.
- Making own decisions, choosing own materials, setting their own problems.
Good scientists, like good artists, must let their minds roam playfully or they will not discover new facts, new patterns, new relationships.