When we think of ‘sensory experiences’ as separate and not integrated part of our curriculum, we forget that life is one big sensory experience and that our infants and toddlers are inherently capable of discovering and creating their ‘curriculum’. They are absorbing their knowledge about the world through seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting what’s around us without any input from the adult. What they want from the adults is- for us to notice, and delight in their new learning with them.
Epiha’s learning story is a perfect example of where he is making sensory discoveries and the adult has noticed and enjoying this wonderful moment with him.
Excerpt from the learning story: Epiha the Little explorer in the big world!
“Centre life is always lively and if you sit still long enough there are some pretty amazing things out there to observe. Being small and not able to move much may seem a bit of a bore but when we are always moving we often don’t get time to see life from a baby’s perspective which is in fact, not so boring at all. Yesterday afternoon I took a quiet opportunity to chill with Epiha in one of his favourite spots outside, above the big tree with the wind chimes hanging from it. We were both lying down and watching the wind blow the leaves on the tree and listen to the sounds of the wind chimes as well as all the voices of the tamariki playing around us. From Epiha’s perspective he was able to see, hear, smell and touch so many things around him that we take for granted every day. His senses were allowing him to develop an understanding of his environment and having someone nearby must have surely made him feel safe and secure. Whilst I sat/lay by him I talked to him about what we could see and he would babble back as if he were answering me! It was truly a wonderful moment in time and hopefully an enjoyable learning experience for Epiha”.
By: Katie Louise
Piaget said, “when you teach a child something you take away forever this chance of discovering it for himself”, Magda Gerber said, “Be careful what you teach. It might interfere with what they are learning.” Essentially both were offering great advice, don’t interfere, don’t lead, we want our infants and toddlers to respond to what is spontaneously occurring in the environment.
You become a learning ally when you understand your child needs to direct their own explorations. The more you stand back and enjoy observing their deep play concentration, their independent play ability increases. Babies and children who are allowed uninterrupted play-time develop creativity, imagination and a concentration span that they take with them to adulthood.