Of wonderment and fascination

Teachable moments or spontaneous learning are what helps remind  us about the joy of early childhood. I love those moments between routine and curriculum where you can really enjoy seeing the awe and fascination in children’s faces as they discover something new or achieve something for the very first time. Picture this – a beautiful playground full of engaging activities, resources and spaces to explore and in the middle sits four girls all about three years old squabbling over a plastic cup!?

I could observe and see how they work it out or offer a solution like direct them to where there are more cups or suggest they take turns with this precious chalice, but on this occasion I lie flat out, face down before them and begin picking up tiny items from the green astro turf – they stop and watch me collect a pin head size yellow crayon, then a piece of leaf, a twig, an almost to small to see tuft of blue wool and some green pastel nicely squashed etc…

As I pile up my treasures interest grows the girls draw closer and one by one they start looking around for things to add, then the ideas, the language, the excitement starts! “We could build a castle …with all these gems” and  “look a feather from a Kiwi”, the exploration of small things goes on until the cup is full and discussion moves around what each piece could be and what to do with them – Team work, collaboration, Imagination confidence to express themselves all growing and changing  from things not usually noticed. I excuse myself on the promise of coming right back with a magnifying glass. Thirty seconds later the girls have moved off to new adventures and all that remains is the empty cup in the middle of the playground and the idea that there is learning and wonderment in every moment of a child’s day.

I see some children examining some leaves and I offer them the magnifying glass which leads to using the sun to burn paper but that another story…




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