Today I visited the Freedom Theatre's preschool/kindergarten to observe (and to drop off a huge pile of rain-boots, rain-trousers and rain-jackets that friends and family have donated in Sweden ... now it is just to wait until these sunny hot days turn into rain so they can use them and splash in puddles).
When I first arrived the children were busy making tabouleh... a delicious local salad, that we took out with us on our afternoon excursion the forest on the mountain.
Later in the morning they were looking at the number 8
I am not sure why, but the activity was that one of the teachers drew a figure of eight large enough and in such a way so that it could be coloured in.
The children were given glue sticks and glitter to add colour to their number. Every child had the number eight with eight small flowers drawn around it.
The children sat at the tables doing their numbers, concentrated, using their fingers to take pinches of glitter to sprinkle on the glued areas. Each child had a small plate of glitter.
Afterwards one of the children started to play with the left over glitter... trying to scoop it up and put it back onto the plate/lid then pour it out, make marks in it, scoop it up into a small container to then pour into the lid/plate again. A sensory process, a fine motor skill activity, mark making, learning about volume, gravity etc etc.
This play intrigued me more than the filling in of the number eight. It gave me the chance to see what this child was interested in... this means I could start thinking about what other possible activities I could offer, or materials that I could make available, or experiences that I could expose the child to... to build on this experience, so that I can learn what aspect interests the child most... is it the texture, is it filling and emptying things, is it making marks and tracks? or is there a need for all of these aspects?
Glitter is one of those hate/love things... I know so many educators who really hate the way glitter gets everywhere... I also have a son who is glitterphobic - but I LOVE glitter, but find it is nearly always used in a restrictive manner.
One of my favourite glitter moments was when I threw a handful of the stuff in the air above the children (who wanted to be there) and watched them dance as the "fairy dust" landed on them... the floor had a gentle dusting of glitter and the children spent the next hour wiping their hands on the floor to pile up the glitter, to pick up and throw in the air again... or rub on their clothes or hair to give themselves some added sparkle.
Messing about with glitter... maybe not for everybody... but this was the highlight of my day!