Making Shapes in the Sandbox

Courtesy of Child Care Exchange

“One of the most memorable experiences for me at age five was digging in the sandbox at our neighborhood park, my feet burrowed deep in the sand and a shovel and pail as my only tools,” writes Elice Swanson in her article, “Learning through Conversations with Children.”
“Asking children what they are thinking, hearing, and seeing is the means to the excitement of learning.  As teachers, what we can offer to children is a ‘sandbox,’ a digging place, where we present tools, but not solutions. It is a distance that a new idea can travel to a world not yet seen.  As facilitators of young children’s learning, we can usher toward — but not dictate — the road ahead.  If we try to eliminate frustration and the possibility of failure, we often also eliminate the power of trial and error as a problem-solving tool, the value of experimentation, and the real possibility of success.  Helping students ‘make shapes in the sandbox’ gives them a point of view.  Their personal impressions are like no other.  What they make and what they see are pieces of their own identity.”

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