The materials we choose to bring into our classroom reveal the choices we have made about knowledge and what we think is important to know.
How children are invited to use the materials indicates the role they shall have in their learning.
Materials are the text of early childhood classrooms.
Unlike books filled with facts and printed with words, materials are more like outlines.
They offer openings and pathways by and through which children may enter the world of knowledge.
Materials become the tools with which children give form to and express their understanding of the world and the meanings they have constructed.
It is for this reason that we are constantly interacting with several different substances, all of which serve a learning purpose! During the month of August, we learned all about the desert. During our fourth week of instruction, we talked all about the fennec fox! Three primary activities dominated our week. For these three activities, we utilized a variety of materials to construct fennec fox habitats.
Before we began, we read a story called Fenny the Fox, by Hans Baumann. From this book, we learned that fennec foxes live in burrows.
At the start of the week, we created these burrows by painting cardboard tubes.
We then added wood chips and sand to them, and later placed them into our sensory tables.
Students were invited to play and explore the different materials used.
During the middle of the week, we constructed burrows out of bamboo flower pots.
Students enjoyed creating scenarios with their friends as they interacted with desert vegetation, rocks, and sand. Lastly, we constructed burrows out of sand blocks.
Using their thinking minds, students created burrows using sand blocks and a few other materials. It was exciting to see the combinations of materials they came up with, as many tried to build the biggest burrows they could!