Today I have spent the day with the participants of the course. Another educator was leading the session... I took the time to observe and listen. Parts were translated in the morning when a translator was available... the rest I did through body language and intonation... as well as observing what they were doing.
Of course, just like children, we connect best when we laugh.
Today they were shown a lot of "educational toys" (as they were translated to me). These were all made by the leader of the session. The educators got to explore them as this was a wish from them during the recent sessions to have a hands on experience of educational toys/games.
As you see the games were mostly bingo style, memory, shape and size sorting and number/amount recognition.
What became evident was that most of these educators/participants were not familiar with these games... with the rules, and really needed time to learn how to use these materials. There was a tendency for the materials to be used in a specific way, so if the participants used them in a different way they were soon corrected.
I was thinking of having some games and play woven into the workshops and presentations I will be holding, but now think I should increase the number of these that I offer.
I will also be focussing on loose parts... so I have decided to quickly put some films together in the next 24 hours so that they can watch them and get some inspiration into how loose part can be used by children... and that the same parts can be used in many ways.
There is a great deal of time and energy that has been poured into making these resources... not all educators have that time outside of their work... and if educators are taking them time to make these materials when they are taking care of the children then how can they focus on the needs of the children at that time... OR... how can they make materials together with the children? Loose parts does give you the freedom to add materials without spending a great deal of time making them... especially if you are using natural loose parts... and even better if you can collect them with the children. Sometimes you just find something on a random day that catches your imagination... the more loose parts you play with yourself the more possibilities you see in objects... you understand how they work, how they could interact with other materials, the learning potential...
This could mean you play with the materials in workshops with colleagues, and/or with the children and/or by observing children in their play with loose parts...
So signing off for today... so I can start putting some of these ideas into action... film-making time for me this evening.