The children were able to become involved in planning and modifying their environment through several ways including their increased involvement and consulting with them, supporting them as well as encouraging them and the strategies to make decisions. All these were made available to the Children by Karen. Parents and educators need to offer opportunities for children so as to increase their ideas on planning. However, most children are able to naturally offer opinions and ideas on how to modify the environment (Walker, et al 2014).
Karen, Kimi, Anne, and the mother Lou used to encourage the children to have a record of the things that they would prefer doing or the resources that they would use to draw and play. In addition, the Karen, Kimi and Anne, the children’s educators also used to record the ideas of the children in writing as well as placing them in the box(Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority, 2011). The mother and the educators also used to discuss with the children on how to make the play spaces safe and also encouraged them to think about the things they want. For example, whether they want higher play spaces to be built for purposes of safe heights. In addition, they used to supervise the children as they played in the play spaces (Rinaldi, 2008).
Listening to the children also helped shape and modify their environment. The educators could listen to the children on what they wanted and also providing prompts to them on how they could modify the environment. The aim was to ensure that the children felt confident and that they could make changes for themselves whenever they felt possible, without being coerced by anyone. The children were asked on how they intended to execute their plans and this enabled them to shape and change their environment. Children need to be encouraged on how to come up with ideas and then be allowed to execute them by themselves and this can help modify their surrounding environment (Rinaldi, 2008).
There are various natural materials that could be added to the outdoor space to make it more interesting and these include: a variety of leaves such as both simple and compound leaves which have different colors as well as shades, leaves that have interesting textures as well as those scented, leaves with pine tree needles, as well as those with different patterns and stripes; shells which have varying sizes, textures, colors as well as patterns; fruits and vegetables that are made to be more interested to look as well as to handle; seeds that have different sizes, colors, shapes, pods that have seeds in them, and cones with varying sizes and shapes; rocks of varying shapes, sizes and colors as well as rocks that are smooth with different colors and sizes as well as sand with different colors and graininess(Walker, et al 2014).
Providing these types of natural materials to children helps to provide an interesting environment that helps to develop the curiosity in the children and offers opportunities for them to ask questions about the things they see and discover (Walker, et al 2014).
Material/resources that would be appropriately challenging for Jakob include the use of loose parts such as rocks, leaves, old tins, buttons, jars, collection of hankies as well as pieces of wood, cartons of eggs and boxes and many more(Rinaldi, 2008).These materials are commonly known as ‘loose parts’ and the reason why I select them to be appropriately challenging for Jakob is because they are materials that are open-ended and Jakob can use them to transform and change the entire play as well as experiences using his creativity and imagination. Children will always use loose parts so as to extend their play as well as support it and at the same time investigate their world and be able to modify anything they need about their environment(Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority, 2011).
Karen was able to include Jakob’s unplanned interests as well as observations so as to develop an interesting experience for their children through various ways. Karen ensured that the learning environment was always conducive and this provoked Jakob to develop an interest in the things that he wasn’t initially interested in (Walker, et al 2014). Karen created a learning environment that encouraged Jakob’s engagement, problem solving, curiosity as well as independent exploration. Karen’s program for the inclusion of unplanned interests was flexible enough since it ensured that Jakob could use his own ideas to execute and help change the environment (Rinaldi, 2008). In addition, Karen, together with other educators ensured that there was enough resourcing in terms of playing materials and resources and this created an engaging program that definitely could include Jakob’s unplanned interests. By all means, Jacob develop interest in things that he hadn’t planned before (Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority, 2011).
Scaffolding is a learning process that is meant to ensure deeper levels of learning among pupils and students and can be done by experts or by a child to another. In this particular case, Jakob was involved in scaffolding his peers in various ways. Scaffolding is tailored towards the needs of the children and is meant to ensure that children achieve their learning goals. Jakob was involved in scaffolding through social interacting with other children and this ensures their cognitive development through the concept of child’s zone of proximal development (ZPD). SinceJakob was already a cognitively developed child, it meant that interacting with other children could be a source for them to learn from him, and hence the process of scaffolding applies here (Walker, et al 2014).
2 extension ideas on how Karen could follow up the observed interest in weather with the group: Karen could ensure that he used Jakob as the main scaffolder since he had an already developed mind and since children always want to learn from their peers, then Karen could just rest assured that the rest of the children are learning from him. Another extension idea is that Karen could ensure that all the necessary playing resources were made available and this could ensure that Karen followed the observed interest in weather with the group. In essence, Karen ensured that the interests developed matured after sometime and this was done for the benefit of the children so as to help them modify the environment (Walker, et al 2014).
Walker, L. Miller, S & Tansey, S. 2014. The Early Childhood Educator for Diploma. Pennsylvania, McGraw-Hill Australia.
Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. 2011. Guide to the National Quality Standard. Sydney: Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.
Rinaldi, C. 2008. The space of childhood. In, Ceppi, G. &Zini, M. (Eds.). Children, spaces, relations: metaproject for an environment for young children. Reggio Emilia: Reggio Children.