We setup our environments to encourage children to build and design to their own imagination.
Self-directed construction play provides unmatched learning opportunities. Children use their imagination and creativity to plan and direct their own play. During which they problem solve, build self-confidence, focus on a task from conception through to completion, partake in mathematical thinking, develop fine motor skills, enhance social skills and work cooperatively with their peers on a specific task.
Construction and Design – The language of Materials
Children love to build. Give them blocks and watch them build castles, dragons and spaceships. Watch them giggle at piles of blocks stacked high in the sky, waiting to be toppled. Witness their pride and eagerness to share what they have created.
Construction allows children to test the relationship between possibility and reality. This is the realm of cause and effect. There is no defeating the fundamental laws of physics. For children, this is not a constraint; cause and effect becomes the framework from which they are able to take giant leaps in experiencing possibility.
For every inch higher their structures grow (with all the collapses that this entails), so the challenge increases proportionally.
How high can I go?
How high will they let me go?
The children’s creative play with materials is limitless and involves mathematical and scientific thinking as well as engineering. This includes building and stacking, making comparisons and measurements, experimenting with balance and counter-balance, developing understanding of symmetry and harmony as well as engaging in problem-solving and collaboration.
We utilise a variety of recycled and reused materials such as blocks, tiles, cotton reels, plastic lids, crystals, tubes, bits of old carpet among other things. There is a big focus on sustainability. We may ask ‘what do the children see in these materials? How do they discover their characteristics? Most importantly, how do the materials speak to the children?
This requires research. There is something vivid and intangible about the physicality of these objects that children seem so ‘tuned into’. Shape, size, colour, transparency, fluorescence, softness, beautifulness, will it balance? Will it fit? All of these qualities suggest possibilities. New forms and functionalities are just waiting to be revealed by the unique mind, hands and eyes of a curious child.