Because of our curiosity to experiment with new materials in the classroom, our Pedagogist suggested that Carolyn and I read a book called Encounters with Materials in Early Childhood Education. In this book, the authors talk about our relationships with materials, and the way materials shape our worlds. Instead of seeing materials as passive, Kind, Kocher, and Pacini-Ketchabaw (2016) write that materials are “active and participatory” (p. 2). For me, working with this idea means that I will not just observe how children are using materials but also how material and children interact with each other –considering what the material invites or provokes. Carolyn and I have decided to think more about what this means by exploring black paint within our classroom. We chose to bring in black paint, as this material rarely makes it into the infant toddler room where bright colours are often more prevalent, and we want to see what happens with something less familiar to the children.
We are hoping to bring a sense of joy, curiosity, and experimentation to this work by “being open to something new, a way of thinking and doing that did not previously exist… to go beyond the normative practices to create and tell different stories of knowing and being in our common world." (Early Learning Framework,13), and to start to “know the power, vibrancy, timeliness, possibilities, and consequences of a material” (p. 6). We hope that with this experience, we will get a better understanding of how children and materials interact together, how children learn, and how we can shape interactions with materials so that they are meaningful. We hope to come with an openness to what the children are capable of, and what may occur! We would like to see what will happen when we get to know one material intimately and when we are open to following the child’s lead and responding to their curiosities.
We plan to explore black paint for a couple of months - or how long children are interested - with a different arrangement. Once or twice a week we’re going to take a small group of children so we have the opportunity to document and observe close children’s interactions with the materials.
-Carolyn, Bruna & Frances
Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., Kind, S., & Kasher, L. L. (2017). Encounters with materials in early childhood education. New York: Routledge.
Province of BC. (2019). British Columbia early learning framework. Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing.