Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

Quiet Play: Process Learning

A basket of loose parts and a frame
Quiet Play is a framework which is used each afternoon. Although there are similiaries to our morning exploration the room is quiet, children work with one friend and some of the busier, noisier areas remain closed. The children spread across the room and into the hall in pairs focusing on just one activity for about 25 minutes.

While the children play, I provided support where needed and complete a few observations. Later when I reviewed my notes and photos I appreciated the value and contribution to learning that emerges from open-ended play. During open-ended play the materials are less subjective, inviting the children to use their imagination. For example, at the playdoh table there was a bucket of white playdoh that yesterday's children had mixed in sparkle glitter, some shells, beach stones and small pieces of driftwood.

Time:  One of the necessary requirements for good open-ended play is time. Children need time to explore materials, have conversations and think about how they want to structure their play, what materials they need and the direction it will go. When children begin to experience regular,  planned blocks of time the play matures and begins to enhance the child’s language, social-emotional growth, and self regulation (these are just a few).

Multiple uses: choose age appropriate resources that can be used in many different ways such as stuffed animals, blocks and fabric. This encourages the child to use his imagination to create play.

Collage Materials:   I always begin the school year with lots of collage activities to provide the children with experience using the materials. Then, when they are ready, I create a new classroom centre which they can access each day to make a craft entirely on their own. To hold their interest I change the materials, keep favourites and invite children to keep a running wish list. This is one of the class favourites and sparks the creative drive in children. I have dedicated a table in the room and have several small containers which hold mini collections such as: specialty scissors & pens, buttons, cotton balls, sequins, nuts, pine cones, bread tags, googly eyes, screws, mini bolts, feathers, pom poms, fabric, felt, ribbon, different colours & sizes of paper, glitter glue, paint, beads, jewels, rocks, ...

Feedback: While all of this wonderful play is happening it is my job to interact with students, scaffold their play, notice where changes have to be made and encourage the children to share their ideas. Research has confirmed that when children make a plan and then reflect on their plans the play is more complex and contributes to cognitive growth.

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