October 8, 2008

It is really the process, not just the product?

Opened ended play materials are the best. The process of the play experience is more important than the end product. As quoted from Mary Ann Kohl, '...the exploring, creating and the attempting of new ideas is more important than the result of creativity...'

Kyle used chalk for the first time yesterday morning and he was fascinated by the texture, the markings made by the chalk and sure was elated that he was allowed to scribble on the balcony's tiles.

He experienced sand for the second time, however this time round it was in more familiar territory; in his sand and water table. Now I just have to find recycled containers of varying shapes and sizes that can be used to teach him some basic math concepts.

We had our first playgroup session this morning and did craft instead of art. I was rather conservative and decided against a open ended art exploration experience for the little ones. Afterall, craft experiences are useful to teach concepts.

This turtle craft project had to meet the subtle objectives of teaching the letter T and colours red and green ; with the triangular collages and turtle. Incorporated a little bit of printing and collage on the 'shell' of the turtle. However like most craft projects for toddlers, the mummies ended up doing the bulk of the work.

The key challenge of developing lesson plans for toddlers is that learning objectives are difficult to achieve, unless the concepts are repeatedly and consistently taught with many different experiences throughout one week. Unlike preschoolers, who can usually grasp the concept with one or two lessons. It is afterall much easier when the child is developmentally ready.

So it is usually wishful thinking to hope that the toddler internalises the concepts after 1 or 2 lessons after his/her playgroup classes at Julia Gabriel or Busy Buddies. Perhaps the only objective that can be achieved is socialisation. Toddlers will be too distracted by other toddlers in the class to pay any attention to the concepts taught.

But that's how it is when I am like some parents, who hope that my kid can read some letters and numbers even before he enters preschool.

It is getting rather challenging to get Kyle to spend more than 10-15 mins concentrating on any task lately (besides his indoor tennis and golf). Guess that will mean I will have to find another 101 other ways to set the stage for his play experiences.

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