Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Santino creates his own sensory activity: salt and pepper

According to the Montessori Method, it is important to observe and follow child's interests in order to create beneficial activities for him. I've noticed a while ago, that water is Santino's number one choice of sensory experience. Today Santino clearly pointed at the salt and pepper shakers and I gave them to him.

It is important for the child's development to let him explore even such trivial every day objects like salt and pepper by touching, opening, tasting, etc. Salt and pepper may be trivial for me, but were certainly all new and amazing for him. He was very serious about exploring them. He immediately figured out how to open those shakers, and was ready to pour the content on the floor. I was quick to offer a tray.

He touched and felt salt and peppercorns. He tasted them both and wasn't impressed. I told him that the salt is salty and pepper is spicy. After playing in the tray for a while he asked for water, and I wasn't surprised. I gave him a bowl with a little bit of water and he proceeded transferring salt and pepper into that bowl.

Earlier I gave him a little container with a few toothpicks to put through the holes. He threw those sticks one by one in the water as well. I pointed out to him, that they are wooden sticks, and they don't sink, rather float on the surface of the water.

I don't know how much he actually understands from all this, but according to Montessori, he creates a "mental image" of the order of things, absorbs this knowledge without actually understanding it, simply by doing and observing what happens.

This was a fun experience for both of us. He was excited to learn something new, and I was excited to let him. I realize, looking back, that I have denied him of too many learning opportunities before. This makes me feel guilty. On a positive side, I am more in-tune with his learning needs now, more attentive and more allowing. If he asks for water, I let him have water, let him spill it and splat it. The more he learns by touching, the better he understands what the things and substances are, what he likes, and this way I understand his learning style.

Speaking of water. After playing with his impromptu sensory tray, he ran around a little, and then climbed in his high chair and asked for the tea pot. He played with a pot of water before, so I allowed him. I gave him the tea pot with a little water and 2 cups.

 He poured water into the cups and back in the pot for some time, and after most of the water was in the tray, I gave him a turkey baster and showed how to suck the water from the tray and pour it back in the cups.

He played with the baster before as well, but today he was more successful than the previous times. He actually was collecting a full baster of water and transferred most of the water back into the pot. I'm so proud of him!