I was observing “C” the other morning spooning beans from one bowl into another. This practical life activity is good for fine motor control, its a nice sensory experience because the beans sound nice when they are dropped into the wooden bowels and it supports a very practical skill – using a spoon. Sometimes I forget that activities like these are also helping children sort out other concepts. As “C” was spooning the beans from one bowl to another he made the following statements: “Now there is more in this one”, “Now this one is empty.”, “This one has less”. I realized then that he was not just spooning beans he was developing a math skill. Later in the day when we went to the park to play in the freshly fallen snow that was the perfect snowman making consistently I observed “C” again. This time he was helping friends build a snowman. He was rolling a snowball and saying “I'll make the medium one.”
It occurred to me that “C” is in the sensitive period for learning about measurement. He did not come to me and say “Miss Melanie, I want to learn about volume and measurement.” Instead he did something more profound. He found activities that were relevant to him and used them to explore a concept that he was trying to understand. That is the beauty of a prepared environment where children are free to choose their own learning experiences.
Posted by the other Ms. M