Today's post is going to be short and sweet (haha at least to me) For Le Xin's birthday, my two lovely ex-colleagues Joanna and Jily shared and bought her a Fold and Go Table for her. Their first reaction when they came to my place was Ohh ohh we should have came here earlier.... I guess it's because they saw our easel board at the Atelier and probably thought they have bought the wrong gift.
Come on~ How can it be wrong? Children have their own creative ways to play with any material/equipment/tool that is being given to them alright? Haha
A happy and curious Le Xin opening up her present!
It's a fold and go apple table! Hooray~
Parents and educators need to be very careful when selecting learning materials/equipment for the children to play with. In this photo, I observed that Le Xin paused to decide which magic pen to use when she wanted to draw. That's decision making and it's very good! The flexibility of this fold and go table allows the white board to be displayed both vertically up as featured in the photo above or flat down where you can place it on the table as featured in the photo below.
To us adult, removing the magic pen from the magic pen holder is an extremely easy task but for toddlers like Le Xin, it was really tough! It's really a fine motor skill thingy. She tried pulling it off from the holder several times but failed to do so and she became frustrated and look at me Help me said Le Xin. I suggested to her that she could try to twist and turn the magic pen to "loosen" it before pulling it off gently. Then she practised a few times and sort of understood it.
Not too sure if she has ever used a white board cleaner in MFS, if she hasn't then that would be the first time she was using it. I usually give her a small piece of cloth to clean her mini white board and chalk board. She appeared to have lot's of fun gliding the cleaner around the board haha.
I took a photo of her scribbling on the white board. In this photo, you can see that Le Xin was holding the magic pen with her whole hand. I enlarge her grip so that it becomes clearer. According to several articles that I read regarding this, the conclusion is that it is really important for toddlers to move through all the developmental stages of holding a writing tool. Even though I knew that Le Xin is capable of holding a pencil correctly, I do not expect her to do the same for magic pens but why? I strongly believe that providing a child ample opportunities to practise in different ways with different tools is more important. When she is developmentally ready she will be able to write with a "correct 3 point" grip. I did a reserch on this and found out that forcing a child to hold the "correct grip" which many adults think is important before the muscles are developmentally ready will run the risk of awkward pencil grasp so I guess it's best to just leave Le Xin to decide how she wants to hold her writing tool.
Here's a top view of Le Xin engaging in her scribbling. It's good to take photos of children from different angles. I usually revisit a learning experience with Le Xin by showing her the photos from the pc, portfolio or displaying them on the wall for her to see. Hence, I believe taking photo from a different angle helps her to see things from a different perspective. Hehe start young, start now!
Then Daddy Scott went to play together wtih Le Xin and this time Le Xin decided to explore with a thick black marker. Even though her hand was holding the white board cleaner, she was curious to find out if she could wipe off the ink with her finger and in the end......
It stained her hand and she was kind of affected by it. So I told her Don't worry Le Xin just continue with the drawing first. We will wash our hands later. She tried rubbing the ink off her hand but when she realised she couldn't she just continued with her drawing.
This post is an example of how a commericial learning material serves as a wonderful opportunity for a child to play and interact. Of course these days children are fortunate to have lots of toys and new found gadget like smart phones and tablets to interact it. Having said that, I still think that at least one adult should be present to faciliate and communicate with the child. Imagine if I were to leave Le Xin alone to use the fold and go table all by herself...how is the learning experience going to be? Of course I can't be with her all the time as well but at least when I first introduced the table to her, I was there to teach her how to use it. Similarity for any Early Childhood Educator who wants to set up a learning centre for the children to play in, he/she needs to keep in mind how he/she is going to be there to help support the children's learning...don't get mad when the children mess up the learing centres, be glad at least they are using them and have a think about what went wrong? The key word is still Facilitation, be involved in their play and you will soon realise how much joy, learning and satisfaction you could gain from it!
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