When a child is presented with materials and given support with how to use new tools, there is no limit to what they might create. Last week Junior Kindergarten teachers, Mrs. DeConti and Miss Blenman, offered a new making tray at one of their table centers as morning work. Mrs. DeConti presented a hole puncher and showed the students how to use it. There was no model of what their work should look like, just room and space for open-ended exploration and construction. On hand were mini clipboards and paper for those friends that wanted to sketch out their ideas before executing them!
By the end of the week students had created magic wands, bird houses, bats, and planes! They were so proud of their constructions. Students volunteered to share what they had made with their classmates as they gathered on the carpet. They explained the choices they made and the problems they had solved along the way.
When given the chance to explain their work, children’s thought processes become more transparent, and we bear witness to the intentionality of their choices and decisions. The most productive opening is often, “Tell me about your work.”
As part of the making process, these students worked on their fine motor skills as they ripped tape, punched holes, threaded pipe cleaners to make loops, and taped cardboard together to make corners. Having the opportunity to make something provided an authentic and meaningful chance for the students to learn, practice, and apply new skills.
When Early Learning Center (ELC) teachers plant a seed for a child that their ideas matter and they are given the chance to make something, it demonstrates for them that they have the ability to impact objects and systems in their world. This is what inspires the motivation to become individuals who invent things to improve the life of others, create cures, and develop sustainable practices to preserve our environment! Making allows us to honor students’ intellectual pursuits!