I really enjoy writing about my experiences of RIE parenting but I wanted to highlight another side to my parenting which is inspired by the works of Maria Montessori (Montessori Approach) and Loris Malaguzzi (Reggio Emilia Approach).
I should also add here that I acquire many of my ideas from a wonderful blog called An Everyday Story written by my friend, Kate, who is an amazing mother of two equally amazing children. Her thoughtful play invitations and inquiry based projects have always resonated with the types of experiences I want to offer my children.
I love how she remains in tune with her son’s (4) and daughter’s (2) interests and provides rich experiences which not only teaches them basic facts about life, but also models the processes of learning by which they can obtain that knowledge. It is plainly clear to see that she is fostering an immense love of learning in her children both creatively and analytically and it is very hard not to be inspired by the wonderful things that she does.
Toddlers are naturally curious, imaginative and investigative. Setting up a play environment in which they are free to develop these wonderful attributes further can be so rewarding. It is especially beneficial to give them as much space as possible to allow them to be the masters of their own play. Showing them how something works or helping them make block creations beyond their capabilities can lead to increased frustrations as they try to replicate and are not able to. Creativity can also be stifled as they learn there is only one correct way to approach something. Lastly they can lose trust in their own ability to play and need someone with them always, prompting them, and leading them through their own play.
I love to set activities up for my girls to come across. I find that they both engage much better with an activity that they discover for themselves rather than be directed towards. So using trays, mats, plates, mirrors etc I define the space and then include all the material that I think they need for that activity. It is then up to them to discover it, approach it, investigate it, manipulate it, experiment with it, add things to it or take them away.
I am endeavouring now, to capture pictures of the play the children engage in throughout the week and include them in my blog. I hope you enjoy this series of posts and as always, please feel free to share any of your ideas or ask any questions you may have.
Lucy has really enjoyed getting used to using these little tongs this week. She started with transferring larger objects such as ping pong balls and is now quite proficient at picking up much finer objects. Through little invitations such as this, I am beginning to see an increase into Lucy’s concentration span.
These little pot people joined our family this week. There is a set of six coloured pots with matching coloured people which come in differing shapes and sizes. Lucy is very good with her colours so after matching them all up effortlessly in the first invitation she was given, she has found so many more creative uses for these little guys over the course of the week.
Lucy is a climber (always has been and I dare say, always will be). Most of the time I let her go for it. She is incredibly sure footed and I rarely doubt her ability to manoeuvre safely in and out of these situations. I also see the playroom as her domain and if she chooses to use the table tops to help her build the tallest tower she can, I applaud her ingenuity. The look of pride on her face when she stood back and realised what she had accomplished was precious.
Shortly after her success with her giant tower, Lucy upended (as is her usual method of play) her block basket and began trying to replicate her prior achievement. It wasn’t long before frustration set in as she found the precarious nature of the small blocks much more difficult to master. I think this has been the cause of a long term strained relationship between Lucy and her blocks and why she prefers to incorporate blocks into her play in other ways such as using them as food in her tea parties etc.
We are lucky enough to have a fabulous little museum in our town which has a delightful children’s play area. I am sure more of this area will feature in future blog posts as we frequent the ‘Little Cobber’s Storytime’ which uses props from within the museum to create a weekly theme for a story and accompanying craft activity.
The old shopkeeper area of the museum is any child’s heaven. It features bags of tea, sugar, flour, oats etc with a set of weighing scales and scrap paper for writing out orders and receipts. We love playing in this shop and Penny loves being the assistant for Lucy.
Lucy loves to bake! Stirring, pouring, mixing and sifting are all skills Lucy happily practices through this wonderful art form. Unfortunately, I sometimes find it hard to allow her to be fully in control when we bake as her skills are still developing and more of the mixture in each stage of the recipe ends up on the floor or in her hair than in the bowl.
I loved, therefore watching her have complete control of her ‘baking’ this week when I gave her measured portions of real ingredients to use to make anything she wished. I included water, flour, oats, bi carb soda, vinegar (for some bubble and fizz) food dye and oil. She, stirred, mixed, poured, measured, dumped, scooped and IMAGINED! It was wonderful!! PS: Her ‘strawberry pie’ probably wont be winning anything at the local show! haha!
The weather has been beautiful here for this time of year this past week so we have taken every opportunity to get out and about in our local parks. This is the first time I have packed the girls’ strollers for a park visit and they were a huge hit. My children both seem to have an obsession with pushing things (strollers, trolleys, bikes etc). How about yours?
The soil in our area is a beautiful, rusty, red colour. The girls love exploring the lovely dirt piles that have been created by the development that is happening over the road from our house. We also stumbled upon this lovely stump (to my husband’s right) which will feature in next week’s photos in a little project we have just begun.
So that is a little snippet of our past week. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you for popping by.
You might also enjoy reading:
Encouraging Independent Play in Toddlers ~ Kate Russell (Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids)
Increasing Attention Span in Toddler Through Purposeful Play ~ Kate Russell (Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids)
Allowing Children to Play for Their Age and Stage ~ Kate Russell (Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids)
30 Days to Transform Your Play Series ~ Kate Gribble (An Everyday Story) This series really is brilliant so check it out!
I love the baking with real ingredients. My two year old twins would love that. I really need a backyard to let them loose in for these types of activities.
Oh, where are you from Ang? We don’t have a massive yard but there is enough room for messy play, thankfully. If I can’t get outside and I’m worried about the mess, I will sometimes set up messy activities such as this in the bath tub and or shower. Have you ever tried doing this?
If quantity , tray, and containers are small, kids refrain a little to that space. When my grandkids play with water but need not to make a big splash about it… I just stand them in front o the kitchen sink,,,”careful not to move, or you can fell down”. The other house location they enjoy a lot is the shower, mine is very comfortable and I sit them on the floor when the activity is going to surely need a big wash!!We have fun, in or outside.Laura Oreamuno. Costa Rica.
Wow, awesome blog. You sound like an amazing Mummy! So much of what you said is what I try to do every day in my family day care. I laughed at your comment about sitting on your hands and refraining from telling them how to do it. I do this all the time and constantly remind myself that all children have the ability to work it out for themselves! There is no right or wrong way! It’s the process and skills learnt that is most important. Glad I came across your blog on facebook. 🙂 Will follow with interest!
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