Friday, 4 September 2015

The Laboratory

This is a post I've been sitting on since well before the Summer break.  I was just so ridiculously busy that I pushed it back and back. So, the Laboratory...
We had discussed as a team how our children, particularly the boys, were spending long periods of time working on small projects/buildings/models.  However the boys rarely had opportunities to develop their fine motor control using the continuous provision tools. So we decided to revive an idea which our manager had mentioned - dismantling electronics.

We began simply with a sky box and a freeview box which our fabulous student teacher donated. We forked out for some B&M tools (£20 gets you quite a bit you know!) and some magnetic tape (I edged the work table with this so any tiny screws couldn't just roll away and end up in a bare foot).  One thing I will say is whilst it is ideal for children to have tools which are their size, don't let adult sized tools stop you from trying something like this. The children could use the screwdrivers, hammers and pliers with excellent control even though they were quite large. 

We added different ideas to explore over the coming weeks and then began to build up different displays (some of children doing + captions and others of schematics).  This helped the laboratory expand in lots of different ways and allowed the children to develop their fine motor skills, friendships, confidence, speaking and listening, understanding, attention, knowledge of the world and mathematics. All areas of the Characteristics of Learning were seen throughout the time we had the lab in the classroom. 

Now my OCD couldn't cope with the laboratory at tidy up time. It never quite looked tidy nor did it seem to all go back onto the shelves (things seemed to grow). But the children seemed to respond to it very positively - especially the boys. It was the group of quite and conscientious boys - those who enjoyed spending longer periods of time exploring using senses rather than the ones who go from activity to activity quickly.

Where next?

We saved all of the resources from the lab with a view to using it again in the future but it really depends on where our next cohort take us.  I would really like to get back into woodwork - which is something we haven't done in a very long time. Hopefully this year we can finally get some proper wood work tools and resources and get it off the ground!