Drops of Glue and Scribbles Too: How Do We Start To See Things Differently?

Last week, a previous vice principal, Kristi, commented on one of my blog posts.

Screenshot 2016-02-23 at 20.16.06

While the entire comment got me thinking, today I was reminded again of this important line:

“That shouldn’t negate the experiences they had previously dumping them; that, too, is developmental engagement.”

Developmental engagement. When we think of our classroom environments, it’s easy to think of the age of the students that we teach. I teach four- and five-year-olds. There are certain expectations that we have of students of this age. But what if the children aren’t there yet?

  • We may see “dumping the blocks.” The students though may be learning about cause and effect.
  • We may see “wasting the glue.” The students though may be creating their own sensory experiences.
  • We may see “an overflowing sink.” The students though may see sensory play, measurement, and dramatic play.
  • We may see “scribbles on a page.” The students though may be experimenting with lines … and sometimes even, lines with meaning.
  • We may see “a mess of paint on the paper.” The students though may see sensory play and colour investigations.

The list could go on. You may even have your own examples to add. The point is that we may all have these students that are at different developmental stages, and that’s okay. Children need to move through all of these developmental stages, and they do so at their own rate, given both time and our support.

Today, my partner, Nayer, and I had the incredible opportunity to present to Exec Council on the Optimal Learning Environment In A Kindergarten Classroom.

As we prepared this presentation, we spent a lot of time looking at and discussing our environment and why we made the choices that we did. In each case, we came back to this point: what’s best for kids. And maybe the part that had Nayer and me thinking the most this year is that it’s not just what’s best for some kids or most kids, but all kids. 

  • How do we reach everyone?
  • How do we support all developmental levels, no matter what those levels may be?
  • How do these questions impact on your planning and classroom design? 

I would love to know more about your thoughts and experiences. Could “transforming learning everywhere” actually begin with creating environments that also honour that “messy glue play” and those “tumbling block towers?”


2 thoughts on “Drops of Glue and Scribbles Too: How Do We Start To See Things Differently?

  1. Yes! As a strong believer of creating a learning environment and atmosphere that encourages the creative process TLE unfolds naturally. Although classroom atmospheres in secondary school can be focused away from the “messy play” needed fo move students forward as innovators and creativitve thinkers; it can be the attitude. Students at this level often forget their passion, and engage strictly for the marks. Staring tomorrow I’ll be adding tumbling block towers to see what will develop!

    • Thanks for the comment, Margot! I love hearing your thinking — especially from that secondary perspective. Please share what develops. Maybe your high school students can inspire our Kindergartners. And if you can think of anything that involves pouring white glue, that would certainly inspire our group too! 🙂


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