As an Early Childhood Educator in the Philippines and a Certified Special Educator in the US, I’ve always believed that sensory activities provide children with another meaningful avenue for learning. Though we have a different curriculum here in the Philippines or in your school, you can always decide to incorporate learning centers in your classroom to provide for more opportunities for learning. More valuable in fact than having four to five year olds sit and listen to the teacher for more than 15 minutes. Trust me, not a good idea for these young children.
I know I haven’t updated my posts on teacher resources and some of you have in fact emailed about teaching strategies I employ in my classroom. Here’s s peak at one of my corners.
I have a Science and Sensory Corner and that’s where I placed my sensory table/tub. I try to use different materials every quarter (operant word: TRY). My classroom does not give me the luxury of space to have as many centers as I want to but that’s never an excuse. This center should be part of your classroom. a MUST!
Sensory tubs or sensory activities promote cognitive development. While playing with the materials in the tub, they develop math skills and science concepts.
It promotes language development too. Sometimes it’s free choice for the kids in the centers but most days, I use the pocket chart and popsicle sticks to rotate them (more of that on another post). Most of my kids want to be in the science center because of the sensory tub. I’ve noticed that they talk amongst themselves, negotiating, sometimes arguing while playing in the centers and thus promoting language development.
Fine Motor Development
There’s a lot of scooping, pouring happening in the tub and that’s what they really enjoy most. What they don’t realize is that while all the pouring is going on, they learn pre-writing skills. Be prepared however to have spills on the floor every so often. Read: EVERYDAY! 🙂
Some days when there’s not much checking to be done, I sit with the little kids and it’s such a joy to witness young children at play. Some days I hear them “scooping ice cream” and selling it to their playmate. When in fact it was all just sand or rice. This promotes creativity which builds their confidence.
I prefer using organic materials usually food like rice in my tubs. I’ve used macaroni pasta but the corn meal and rice were their favorites. I put in the beach toys that came with the tub and some tiny cups and bowls.
That picture above was taken on the last days of school this year. Notice that the tub isn’t anymore half-filled with corn meal. You’ll have to deal with spills. I placed rubber mats under it to make the children comfortable while playing.
Will share more of my classroom centers in the next posts.