Friday, September 28, 2012

To Light a Fire: 9am and 10:30am Science

The Filling of a Bucket or The Lighting of a Fire...

Sometimes parents wonder how much to help or Play with their little one while at The Wonder Studio (or at home for that matter...)
When are we an interruption in offering unwanted "advice" and when are we providing the right amount of support to SPARK new interest?

These set of pictures offers a window into just that...

The water table is one of my favorite mediums for scientific investigation.  I   always have it out and try to continually add new elements for increased opportunity for the children to develop more intentional play.

This week, we had funnels, tubes, corks, and colored water.  Sometimes the children might not make the connections between these materials.  I appreciate when the adults help the children to make these connections.

This mom tries to catch his interest in showing him how to pour the water through the funnel and directs his attention to how it flows through the tube into the container at the bottom.  

What begins is a dance ...

(this is the term the teachers in Reggio Emilia have coined...I won't take credit ;)
The Adult and child together are a learning pair.  The adult lets the child lead but will show the child the next step when they appear confused or losing their step.

The mom is careful not to take over the lead but providing enough support to sustain interest.
She encourages him to experiment... She points out important details.  She says, "Look at the water... It's staying here in the tube..."
He doesn't say much in return but a conversation is definitely taking place!
I suggest a clear tube might be interesting and will enable him to see the flow of the water more clearly.  They switch the tubing and it begins again.

Mom's hands are assisting...and her Words are carefully offered.  Just enough support and not too much.
His interest is sustained as he is able to lead. 
She "provokes" him to notice the water stuck in the tube and is no longer flowing out the bottom.
He nudges her hand and the tube to lift he understands Gravity is necessary in this experiment.
And then you see her hands disappear from the picture as he is ready now, to continue the Dance without her stepping in.
It's critical to be at the child's level.  If you are standing, you will miss these opportunities.  And often standing adults lead to children being more erratic in their play.

Sit down, or get down low and see if it makes a difference...
Join the Dance!!