Monday, May 17, 2010

Lorena has a Sticky Problem

Lorena dips her hands into the paint pot, expecting the typical finger paint. Much to her surprise she pulls out her hands only to find them filled with glue.

Most often such an activity is called "sensorial play" and justified with phrases such as "they are exploring their sense of touch." Such phrases, perhaps derived from Montessori's phrase of "educating the senses," imply that the children are learning what objects are smooth, what objects are rough, what objects are sticky, what objects are not. The emphasis is placed on a refinement of the sense, in this case touch, so that with experience, like a sculptor choosing the right wood, the child can determine the texture, the temperature, the grain, or the adhesiveness of objects. The literature on sensorial play seldom reveals the strategies the children use to make these distinctions and seldom reveals the extensions the child makes once an attribute, such as adhesiveness, is discovered. What does it yield for something to be sticky? What can I do with sticky? How can I have fun with sticky? These extensions are not classically "sensorial." These extensions go beyond "Is this sticky?" or "To what degree is this sticky?" These extensions enter the world of invention, reasoning, inferring, figuring things out, and "what if "games.

An excerpt from Views - Issue 91, October 6, 2009

1 comment:

  1. Sensorimotor experience is wonderful for toddlers. According to Piaget's theory, toddlers are in the fifth substage of sensorimotor development. They like to discover everything through using their hands, "what will happen, if I ..." and they use their increasing repertoire of physical skills to make new things happen. So it needs to be considered when we create the physical environment to support toddlers' development.