It's My Idea And That's Important
"Attempts to divert children from their self-directed play shuts down the drive to explore and experiment. These two prongs, exploration and experimentation, are essential to the learning process and have been the roots of all culture - material, spiritual, written and oral - since the beginning of mankind's time upon Earth. They may well be the springboard to future journeys in other realms.
-Bev Bos & Jenny Chapman, Tumbling Over the Edge, A Rant for Children's Play
A variety of centers are thoughtfully put out in this mixed age environment. The same materials can offer age appropriate learning opportunities. The key is making centers available for independent exploration. Faye investigates this cause and effect/language activity. The pieces are part of a letter sound activity. She is intrigued at first by the inviting pictures but her experience quickly turns to one of inquiry and testing. These objects are not falling off. Furthermore, when the board slips and lays flat, Faye quickly places it upright. She clearly understands something is happening and that certain factors are important, such as the position of the board.
Banyan and Sean are playing with a cornstarch, water and food color mixing invitation. The ingredients are the motivation to experiment with a variety of tools including some different size droppers. They played at this center for almost a full hour, engaged, observant and communicating.