Toddler Program

october 2023

How do we explore the relationships surrounding materials?

As we continue to build relationships with our materials, peers, environment and self; and the children are continually being exposed to and are exploring new materials, we watch and see the scope in which the children investigate the materials around them and explore the connections around them, forming semiotic understanding about their space, life, materials and themselves. Wanting to continue the children’s explorations on the idea of “in” Selena set out open-ended loose parts with plasticine, sitting with the children and exploring the materials alongside them. As the children set to investigating these new materials we watched the children explore these connections and relationships through play and exploration.

How does it relate to my body?

As children explore materials they explore how these relate directly to them, how they can manipulate these materials and how these materials can fit with them. Through opportunities for the children to explore how materials relate to them the children work on spatial reasoning, semiotic understanding, critical thought and in this case fine motor coordination as they investigate.

“Rolling!” L works hard to roll the plasticine between her hands, watching the change she creates as she focuses on the task at hand; rolling the dough carefully back and forth.

H explores the loose parts themselves, discovering the markercaps fit perfectly onto her fingers. She holds them out to the table excitedly “Fingers!”

How does it relate to my peers?

As the children explore we begin noticing children moving towards building associative play skills. Shifting their attention from their own actions and play and beginning to take stock and interact with one another during play. As they do they observe their peers' actions or ideas and begin to form relationships not only with their peers but a greater understanding for the materials as they see different perspectives and ideas come into light.

S smiles as he watches H place the caps onto her fingers, he searches the table to find more and soon slowly places them onto his fingers to show her! Beaming with excitement! H was so excited to see the hole he had created in his playdough, he holds it up closely to his face, marveling at his hole. So excited he holds it just as closely to S’s face. “Look! Look!”

How does it relate to other materials?

As we introduce open ended materials to the children and encourage the children to engage with them in play, the children work on their critical thought, spatial reasoning, cognitive reasoning skills as they explore the whole item, taking stock and observing their physical qualities, shape and size, manipulating them and exploring how they might work with other materials available and how these items relate to one another.

Mc notes the size of the marker lid before placing it directly inside the CD hole, with a smirk he slowly lifts the CD, leaving the marker sliding through the CD as it’s the perfect size to fit into the whole.

F goes to the art shelf to retrieve a paint brush before slowly pressing it into the plasticine, watching as it dimples the clay, he then repeats this over and over as he watches how the paintbrush effects the plasticine and how the two relate to one another.

H puts a bead onto his plasticine, pushing down hard, when he lifts his hand he notices the bead is now embedded into the plasticine “Oh No!” as he then begins to try to get the bead out. H then continues to add beads again and again , saying “Oh No!” as the plasticine continues to envelope the beads.

Selena Martin, Smriti Bhoray ECE BEd BA in special education