Create the Awe and Wonder
The 'WOW' effect!
Sometimes we get stuck in the same old environment, doing the same old activities. If I’m bored, it makes sense that the children must also be lacking in stimulation. I’ve never been one for standing still, so I like to change up the environment on a regular basis, to keep that “awe and wonder” for the children. It’s important to be constantly moving and changing in early years. Occasionally this is also good for us as well as the children.
I like to watch closely, to see what stimulation children respond well to. One of the most memorable moments of my career was a child being mesmerised by what looked like a leaf storm in our garden. The wind was blowing so hard and the leaves were literally raining down. After staring in amazement for five minutes he donned his coat and wellies and ran outside. The child held his arms out wide and twirled around with the leaves, as if he was a leaf himself. He was so happy!
This is a perfect example of letting a child be at one with nature. Other times it’s important for us to take the lead and provide opportunities for the children to experience different stimulus, and explore in different ways. Cloud Dough is one of my favourites, and so easy for the children to make and create. Simply mix eight cups of flour and one of oil. The children can help to count and measure. It makes a sort of crumble mix (for those who haven’t tried it) so you can manipulate it to hold, or crush it to crumble. I’m always one for adding a bit of glitter as well, to make it all sparkle! We used it to make an arctic theme once and included polar bears and penguins, it was great for our early story makers.
I have picked up so many ideas and really enjoy mixing and matching them to create interactive learning environments. It’s so important to have high engagement for children; if we can challenge children and make that impact on their development, we not only have very happy (and clever!) children, but motivated staff who can clearly see the difference they are making to young lives.