Supporting early childhood professionals worldwide in
their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.
By Mary Lynch, Lauren Foster Shaffer, and Ellen HallGo to page: 1 2 3 4
Rolling and incline with toddlers
Another group of teachers inspired by the Hawkins Room worked with a group of young toddlers. The energy in our school for rolling had already provoked them to include ramps, tubes, balls, cars, and open-ended rolling materials for the study of scientific concepts, such as gravity, motion, incline, and cause and effect. However, the teachers noticed the children's interest waning.
They met with a small group in the Hawkins Room, seeking new questions to explore. Someone proposed making the ramps sticky, thus provoking a new challenge: figuring out how to slow down or stop materials in motion with sticky surfaces, including contact paper and types of tape. The teachers had previously spent time thinking about variations in materials for rolling, but now had tons of new ideas for the variation of surfaces for rolling.
The teachers were excited to offer this new provocation to the children. They predicted that the surprise of the familiar materials screeching to a halt halfway down the ramp would delight the children and cause them to ask new questions. They reflected that without their experience in the Hawkins Room, they would not have thought to introduce the sticky element and credit it for a renewed interest among the children.
Rolling and incline with pre-kindergartners
A third group of teachers drawn into the Hawkins Room were pre-kindergarten teachers. These teachers, inspired by their experiences creating cars in the Hawkins Room, began to wonder about possibilities for introducing materials for rolling, using a long ramp on the school playground. Teachers gathered tires, spools, cylinders,pillars and logs, and observed that the children were most interested in the materials that rolled fast and far. The children defined this as 'rollability' and spent time categorizing materials by these characteristics.
The teachers realized that the group of pre-kindergarten 'rollability experts' could potentially offer new perspectives on the ongoing work taking place in the Hawkins Room. A small group of pre-kindergartners were invited to the Hawkins Room to test the 'rollability' of the vehicles created by the teachers. Interestingly, the children pointed out something that many teachers had overlooked: many of the homemade cars looked very pretty and creative, but did not actually roll well. This pushed teachers to think harder about 'rollability' as they worked. Inspired by the children's insights, the pre-kindergarten teachers encouraged the children to use their observations to create their own vehicles, based on 'rollability.' In this way, the work of teachers in the Hawkins Room was reciprocal. Not only were teachers' reflections incorporated into the daily life of classrooms, thus affecting the children's work, but the children's comments also changed the teachers' perspectives on their work.
Gandini, L. (2008). Meeting of the minds: Malaguzzi and Hawkins. In L. Gandini, S. Etheredge, & L. Hill (Eds.), Insights and inspirations from Reggio Emilia: Stories of teachers and children from North America (pp. 36-37). Worcester, MA: Davis Publications.
Gornall, F. A. (1973). Activities for lower primary: Wheels. Newton, MA: African Primary Science Program of Education Development Center.
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