In my previous blog post we talked about what the Reggio approach is and how you can create mini art areas within your setting. The next post in the series covers sensory exploration and how you can further develop exploration within the everyday activities you provide for the children attending your setting.
The Reggio approach is all about child led learning through exploration, an emphasis is put on the process rather than the end product. By creating activities which have many sensory dimensions and opportunities for sensory exploration you can allow children to explore further.
Mirrors automatically add a whole new level of exploration. By providing mirrors within the learning environment children can explore themselves; they can look at their expressions, the way their bodies move and how they can make different shapes with their mouth. Mirrors can be added at different locations and angles so that children can explore how they look different from below and above as opposed to straight on.
Mirrors can also be added as a base for transient art, as part of a small world set up and are great for painting on, again adding a higher level of exploration to an activity children have access to on a regular basis.
Textures are a great way for children to explore. As practitioners we often emphasis textures with children under two, ensuring the learning environment is filled with treasure baskets and feely bags, however once children hit preschool we often forget how valuable it is to emphasis textures. Lots of great communication and language comes from simple additions to the learning environment, by providing different types of paint, rather than just one, the children will get to test out how powder paints, poster paints, chalk paints and gloss paints create different marks.
There are lots of great ways to add different textures to the learning environment by adding different materials for den building, lots of different cushions and throws in the cosy area as well as providing fresh fruit and veg for the children to explore.
Scents add a whole new dimension of sensory exploration to activities and are easy to add to the learning environment. Planting a herb garden which the children can access is a worthwhile investment, not only do children enjoy planting the herbs but they can be added to lots of different activities. I add herbs to play dough, the water tray and the mud kitchen. Try freezing herbs into ice cubes, add to the water tray and explore the scents as the ice melts.
I hope this post has inspired you to think about senses when creating activities for the children, in the next post I will talk about how process art using paints links to many early learning goals.
This post was written by Laura England of Little Miss Early Years
Laura is the lead practitioner at Blythe Bridge Day Nursery, she is currently a trainee early years’ teacher and has a monthly column in Teach Early Years Magazine. She is interested in everything early years but is passionate about teaching through the children’s interests, setting up enabling environments and the adults role during play.