Honoring Children’s Work: Respecting the Building Process
How can we honor children’s works in the construction area?
Our last blog focused on how we can create storage solutions that promote autonomy and communicate value around the process for children’s work. This week, we continue with that lens but in a different area of the classroom, the construction area.
Summer tends to lend itself to lower numbers in the classroom, resulting in more space. This is a perfect opportunity to create a system for supporting children in saving a building process they intend to revisit.
The first step would be to involve the children in the conversation, as they love to be a part of decision making in the classroom. Discuss what areas would be best to use as spaces to save building work. Also discuss what materials feel OK to save. Some materials, especially those in small quantities, such as magnetic tiles, may need to remain available for daily construction use. Make agreements as a class around this new system. Also, be ready to re-negotiate these agreements. Some questions that can facilitate discussion are:
What area in the classroom should we use to create a space for saved construction projects in progress?
How big should our saved space be?
How will we know whose work is who’s?
What materials are able to be saved inside this space?
How long do we save something?
Here are some ways to create designated spaces for saving work in the classroom:
Invite the children to create an outline around a designated space in your building area with painters tape. Refer back to the discussion around the agreements the children created for how this outlined space will be used.
These mats offer a visually designated space to save work. Another benefit to this material is the comfort it provides for children as they build. They can also be re-positioned to form many shapes or sizes of an area, or seperate them to create smaller areas throughout the classroom. Yoga mats are also a great option and roll up and out of the way when not in use.
A short-pile rug is another comfortable space for children to build and save their works in progress. You can choose a rug size that works best for your building space.
Creating these specified spaces for children to save their work communicates to children that their construction process is valuable. Some structures will inevitably need to be cleaned up for cleaning or other reasons. Taking pictures or encouraging a children to draw their structures is another way to create a lasting memory of their work. These can be turned into a wonderful documentation piece for children to refer back to as they build new structures in the future.
What ways do you honor children’s process in your classroom? Share in the comments below!
Jordan Kaseeska is the Education Specialist at Kodo Kids. She received her undergraduate degree from Colombia College Chicago in Early Childhood Education and went on to earn her masters degree from University of Colorado- at Denver in Education and Human Development with a focus in Early Literacy. She has used her passion for constructionist style teaching in public and private early childhood and elementary classrooms.
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