Concrete and Abstract Thinking

Early each year I set out the dragon tears (flat glass rocks) and some simple line drawings. They are wonderful for fine-motor practice, but more importantly they are lovely, special things to play with. I added them to the art studio last week after observing many of the children placing a variety of toys in rows and lines.

On purpose, I didn’t explain how they might be used. I wanted to see the ideas that the children bring with them.

This year, a few children decided to use them to line the simple drawings. One child used the lines as boundaries and created their own design within the marks. As I walked around the room observing others, some of children took their exploration further.

Moving from concrete materials to abstract representations of those materials is a perfect example of the developmental growth we see in Pre-k. For younger children, it wouldn’t occur to them to re-make the activity on paper. Their learning focus is on the tangible, the feel of the rocks, the swoops and straight lines, the act of moving the stones. While the older children also found this enjoyable, they were driven to represent their experience in another medium.

We will see this in all areas of development throughout the year. Children will move from activities that involve direct manipulation to those that can represent their experiences. We hope to capture as much of this growth as we can to share with you.

Oh, the Squishiness of STEM

Schemas in Play

Have you ever wondered why your young child couldn’t get enough of hanging upside down or why as toddlers they continually dropped their favorite toys from their high chair? As frustrating as it might be at the time, your little one is actually supplementing their urge to learn new information (AKA schemas in play). If you’d like to learn more about schemas in our children’s play, check out this fabulous article that discusses the variously types of schemas and how we can facilitate this natural love of exploration!

http://www.nature-play.co.uk/blog/schemas-in-childrens-play