Thursday, 26 July 2012

Elliot and the beanstalk

"Creativity is an important human characteristic.  It is perhaps best thought of as a process, requiring a mixture of ingredients, including personality traits, abilities and skills.  Early years staff can help young children to develop their creativity by providing a creative environment, helping children to build up their skills through play, behaving creatively themselves and praising children's creative efforts"  Developing young children's creativity: What we can learn from research. C.Sharp.

Today Elliot took me on a creative adventure that began quite innocently while he was digging in the sandpit.   Elliot had unearthed a gemstone and proudly ran up to me "Look Dani, it's a magic seed, if we plant it, it, it, could grow into a HUGE, ginormous beanstalk"
"What will we do with the beanstalk?" I asked
"Well, if we let it grow, then the next day we can climb to the top just to see what is there" Elliot said.
 Elliot and I continued our conversation about the stone, deciding we should plant it somewhere safe.

"We have to plant it in dirt so it can grow really, really big"  Elliot said as he began filling the container with soil.  He placed the gem in and covered the 'seed' with more soil.  "Where should we put the container Elliot?" I asked.  "Somewhere where the other kids don't knock it over, and somewhere that the possums can't get it" He replied.

 Elliot walked around the yard with his container trialing different spots to put it.  "How about on our 'safe shelf'?" I asked, pointing to the shelf under the veranda. 

"Nah, cause if we put it there and the beanstalk goes BANG and explodes growing really really fast it would punch a HUGE hole in the roof and then the rain would get in"  Elliot announced animatedly.

After several more minutes Elliot decided on the edge of the water tank "cause the beanstalk will need heaps of water to grow so big and fast"

"We need to water it so it starts to grow"  Elliot noted and quickly returned with a bucket of water.  Children began asking Elliot what he was doing, and I noted as he explained it to them his body language began to change.  He was quite proud of his creation but wanted to protect it.  " Elliot what could we do so the children know they can look at your beanstalk but you would prefer them not to touch it?"  I asked.

After several moments of thought Elliot said "we need to put a sign up. It should tell them not to climb it when they see it grow cause it would be dangerous for them." He stated, very serious about ensuring their safety. 

I suggested Elliot gather same paper and pencils and make a sign.  When he finished creating we stuck the sign up near his beanstalk.


There are a variety of avenues I plan to explore to further develop this interest of Elliot's including planting beans and creating his own beanstalk story.

Throughout the experience Elliot is demonstrating a great deal of curiosity and creativity, adapting several pieces of learnt information to his experience: His knowledge of the story Jack and the Beanstalk, planting seeds in soil, watering plants etc.

Elliot is also demonstrating several outcomes from the Early Years Learning Framework:  Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world - children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment, Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing - Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing. Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners - children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment...... and outcome 5 Children are effective communicators

Saturday, 21 July 2012

How do you make orange?

There has been alot of talk about colours within the room lately.  We often hear children talking about their favourite colour, the colours in the rainbow, the colours they are wearing and what colour certain animals are.  I decided to explore this further with the children and do a little intentional teaching.

Using food dye, eye droppers and paint pallets we set the scene using primary colours.
The children had not used droppers before so after demonstrating how to manipulate the end to suck up liquid they set to work exploring.  I explained that red, yellow and blue are primary colours, these are colours that all of the colours are made from. "But how do you make orange?" Ollie asked

"What do you think?" I replied, "I don't know" Ollie said.  I suggested that we might be able to find out by mixing some of the colours together.

Initially Jacob and Ollie began transferring individual colours, I could see I was going to have to be a little more specific, so I posed the question " I wonder what would happen if you mixed a little red into the yellow?"  Jacob was quick to answer "Nah I wanna mix the blue in the yellow"  and he began dropping "Hey check this out Ollie, look its gone a greener!" Jacob announced excitedly.  Ollie began smiling and dropped red into his yellow "Jacob this one makes orange see" he said.
 They continued mixing, experimenting and hypothesising together for some time.

Later in the session I observed Ollie at the paint table mixing two colours together on the paper.  He looked up "It just wont make orange Dani" he said.

We discussed what Ollie had observed in the dropper activity and Ollie noted there was no red or yellow paint out. I asked if he would like me to add some  more paint " Yes, but I want to mix it please" he answered.

I had some empty pump soap packs and filled these with paint and a little water to make it easier to pump out. I then added these with trays and brushes to Ollie's experience.

Ollie quickly set to mixing the colours.

He experimented with shade, mixing darker and lighter colours

Many other children experimented with colour and shade following Ollie's lead.  We will continue to offer both experiences on the program and will look at other options to engage children who prefer not to paint, such as the light table.

Throughout this experience the children have shown dispositions for learning, strategising and hypothesising while also adapting and taking learnt knowledge from one play area to another.  They have also shown strength in their communication skills with adults and peers