The 101 Alternatives to the Chalkboard” 2008 Educators’ ConferenceSeptember 19, 2008
Call to Action from the Nature Action Collaborative for ChildrenSeptember 24, 2008
September 22, 2008
Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral.
In Early childhood spaces: Involving young children and practitioners in the design process (“Working Papers”, December 2007, Bernard van Leer Foundation), author Alison Clark and co-researcher Peter Moss describe a project where the views of children were deliberately sought in the design process for a preschool. Here are some of the “findings” of the children:
“The children paid great attention to the ground, whether inside or outside, but particularly to the mud in the garden and insects discovered there. Several of the children also drew attention to rooftops and the sky. This has been a consistent finding a cross [three studies tapping the insights of children] ‘” their awareness of the sky and of ceilings in buildings, perhaps partly as a result of how much of their day is spent looking up.
“A sense of perspective was eloquently conveyed by one of the youngest 3-year-olds who took part. His photographs contained many images of corridors and doors taken from his height, which drew attention to the number of obstacles in his way….
“Another consistent theme was that of personal markers. Children in this case study were keen to record evidence of themselves around the children’s centre…. There had recently been a new border established outside with seeds planted by some of the children, with the children’s names written on labels by the seeds. Several children included this border [in their photographs].”
Check Out Natur al Playscapes Today
Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul, now available on the Exchange web site, is an inspiring, yet practical resource on bringing outdoor playspaces to life. It describes how children relate to the natural world, gives many examples from around the world of how early childhood professionals and parents have planned and constructed natural playscapes. Included are blueprints, step by step instructions, and tip sheets such as “20 Ways to Create Natural Playscapes,” and “15 Free or Low-Cost Things to Enrich Your Playscapes.”
ExchangeEveryDay is a free service of Exchange Magazine. View this article online at ChildCareExchange.com.