All good child care and educational settings should be child led in their approach to teaching a learning. And this is what I aim to provide for L at home. Most of us do this without realising. Its found in all those activities we set up for do because our child is interested, picking up leaves and twigs in the park because your toddler is doing it, reading the same book all day because it is repeatedly passed to you or, like this week of play based on observations of what your child likes to do. In this case L was very interested in her farm books and in trying to copy the farm sounds modeled for her.
We are starting the week with a small world which I set up in ten minutes in our outside sand table. Our sand table has suffered the fate of many sand tables in that its primary role has been to contain sand for the toddler to chuck sand out off and all over the garden. Brilliant child led learning occurred by providing said toddler with various transporting devices, aka buckets, and a willing adult swept all the sand back up muttering about the benefits of child led learning!
Back to the farm.
We had picked up a second hand previously much loved barn from Fisher-Price, (after many Google searches this is the Fisher-Price Amazing Friends Stable Friends Tote which is no longer available) this has been popular in our emerging imaginative play. This was easily plonked into the sand tray. I decided that after purchasing new batteries I would leave the noisy horse out of the sand!
Some rummaging in the shed resulted in some hay, some grass cuttings were made and a small pond fashioned out of a shallow plate filled with water.
To this I added some rubber ducks, the small foal or pony, their apples and a small chicken.
L came straight over to investigate after her nap and was intrigued by it all. She then took everything out and carefully put the animals back where she wanted to. We chatted about quacking ducks, neighing horses and munching crunchy apples.
We sang Five Little Ducks and Old McDonald.
We explored the various textures of the sand, water, hay and grass and talked about them all. Inevitably we ate some of the sand, water, hay and grass. No ill effects were observed and grass makes for an interesting nappy explanation to the husband.
This was Ls first small world. She, like all children who encounter small worlds, quickly took ownership and made it her own. We as adults have to step back and let the play happen naturally, even if it messes up the hard work and the children don't play with it how you wanted or imagined. Small worlds are one of my favourite things to set up in classrooms. I find it very therapeutic but creative. And they are wonderful for budding imaginations.
L= 15 months
L= 15 months