Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Engaging boys in creative, collaborative play

Respecting and following the interests and skills of individual children is a priority within our service, as such we have many children (predominately boys) who prefer to explore and engage in learning in the outdoor environment for the length of the session.  Although we provide opportunities for craft and creative exploration outdoors as well as indoors, the children outdoors do prefer to explore our sensory areas - mud, sand, water, slime etc. 

 Our skilled educator overheard Ethan and Jack discussing rockets in the sandpit.  She observed as they filled buckets with sand and turned them over discussing that rockets needed to be bigger than what they had made.  She asked one simple, yet extremely effective question,   "What else can we use to make the rocket boys?"  What happened next was 40 + minutes of creative, collaborative learning between quite a large group of children. 
 As they were looking for resources, two extra children gained interest and voiced their ideas.  The group of 4 decided on large cardboard tubes that we have in our loose parts area.  Taylor took the lead and showed the boys how to bury them in the sand so they were strong enough to stand straight.

Jack talked about the rocket needing fire at the bottom to make it fly. Again, our educator asked what could be used.  Jack asked for the see through paper that we used to make the camping fire last year (cellophane)  The educator sent the children in to ask the inside staff member for the resources, once inside they discussed they might need scissors to cut it to shape or glue /tape to stick it together.  By now more children had gathered and shown interest.  The educators role became one of player support to help with the initial collaboration.

Ethan reaffirmed his role as leader and demonstrated how he wanted the 'fire' to be used.  We were very pleased to be able to observe what occurred next.......

Children were teaching others and reinforcing or enhancing skills in creative, social, physical, cognitive, emotional and language development. Hypothesising, sharing ideas and concepts, previously learnt information, leadership roles, supportive roles and observer roles.

 Once complete, the boys celebrated their success together and asked for the rocket to be left to show their families.

We will be looking for further opportunities to support the development of these skills with the group of children. 

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