If we look at the concept of the colour “purple”, purple is not simply learned by naming things. It begins with comparing and contrasting things that are purple and NOT purple. A sorting scheme starts to develop but still if it is simply about the visual of purple, the concept is weakened. Add muli-sensory experiences of purple such as the taste of grapes, or the smell of grape jello or jelly and children have a strong reference point for the concept of ‘purple’Mulisensory experience not only reinforces cognitive concepts but also address other domains in development. In the process of learning the concept of ‘purple’ through a multi sensory experience, the child is also developing socially through interaction with materials and other children as well as in the domain of language where terms like shades, different, same, lighter, darker etc are acted upon rather than passively received .
At any given time, a sensory experience can address one or all of the domains of early learning development. For example, a sand or water experience may give a child a chance to interact with others at the same table as they negotiate use of manipulatives and therefore, it is a chance to develop socially, language is also developed as
This is the first or outer layer to everything that happens in K. By seeing the interconnectedness of Domains of Development, Areas of Learning and Intended Outcomes or BIG IDEAS, we have a roadmap to navigate where we go in our planning and provision of experiences for our young students. Think about how sensory experiences are intricately woven into all of this and offer a rich vehicle for addressing Domains, Areas of Learning and Intended Outcomes.An example will follow shortly.
Choosing materials is an important part of planning. Educator decisions about the materials may be connected to an experience, a book, an observation or a developmental need. How the children use the materials in their play provides further information for further planning.An example followsSee also pg. 37 Playing is Learning ETFO RESOURCE
It’s is learning centre time and the educator explains the new activities and materials available that day. He might ask who would like to use the props (rock mice) for the story Mouse Paint which the children know well. Two children ask because they are excited to make the props and tell the story along with the book at the centre. Next, the teacher asks who would like to join him at a colour mixing experiment. The children will add different coloured food colouring in clear plastic bottles. The teacher wants the children to observe what happens when different amounts of colouring are added. The experiment may take 3-4 days as different groups of children show interest and participate. The educator noticed that a few children were gripping pencils for dear life and thought this would be an opportune time to have them roll and shape plasticine into mouse shapes that could be used to not only strengthen their fine motor skills but could also extend conversations about colour and introduce language such as short and long –as well as comparative language eg shorter/longer, shortest, longest,.This is just a vignette to show how sensory learning can be extended from a read-aloud into various learning areas while addressing development domains.
Since K is play-based, the teacher needs to balance standing back and allowing play to unfold and stepping in to participate in play and guide it to another point. So, depending on where you are at any given time in this fluid relationship, you will be collecting observations of children at purposeful play on their own or perhaps in a conversation as you step into the play with guiding questions or you may capture a product either finished or in process. A product or process can be captured digitally by photo or a conversation can be capture in voicethread or recorded. The point is that what you collect needs to serve you in talking about a child’s learning in relation to the programme’s expectations and to know where you might want to nudge the learning forward.
The cyclical nature and recursive nature of assessment and instruction is shown here. These are the educator’s actions in listening, watching, etc. and responding to these things in order to change instruction.
We have a number of materials collected together in various bins that could form the basis of a sensory station in your classroom. These are just some ideas. We suggest that you use this time to plan a station by assembling some materials from these resources, using the planning sheet provided and then pictures will be taken so that we can share with one another as a catalogue of ideas you may want to use in the future.
1. D O M A I N A N D A S S E S S M E N T –R I C H , P O R T A B L E A N D P O T E N T I A L L YP E R M A N E N T !N O T T O M E N T I O N L O A D S O F P L A YP O T E N T I A L F U N ! !Welcome to Sensory Stations!
2. Learning IntentionsPosition sensory learning as valuable in the K Programmeplanning process by: Briefly taking an overview of theoretical background. Examining Sensory learning through the Domains oflearning. Linking DEVELOPMENTAL DOMAINS, LEARNINGAREAS and BIG IDEAS or INTENDED OUTCOMES andsensory play experiences. Exploring ideas for sensory stations . Co-planning and then SHARING ideas for future sensorystations for YOUR classroom!
3. What’s the Value in Sensory Learning?Start with an example:How do children learn their colours?What senses do we rely on to teach‘colour’?
4. What Domains does Sensory Learning Address?SocialPhysicalEmotionalCognitiveLanguage
5. Linking it all TogetherAreas of Learning DevelopmentalDomainsINTENDEDOUTCOMES or BIGIDEASPersonal and Social Development Social, Emotional Children are connected to othersand contribute to their worldLanguage Language/Emotional/CognitiveChildren are effectivecommunicators. Children have astrong sense of identity and wellbeing.Mathematics Language/Cognitive Young children have a conceptualunderstanding of mathematicsand of mathematical reasoningand thinkingScience and Technology Cognitive Children are curious and connectprior knowledge to new contextsin order to understand the worldaround themHealth and Physical Activity Physical Children make healthy choicesand develop physical skills.The Arts Language/Emotional/Cognitive/PhysicalYoung children have an innateopenness to artistic activities.
6. Choosing Materials for Sensory LearningRationale or Purpose ofMaterialsPossibleObservationPoints andStrategiesMotivation and Responsei.e. an experience, abook, a developmentalneed, an observation
7. What Might it Look like?
8. Opportunities for AssessmentObservationsProducts Conversations
9. Go for It! Sense it out!
10. Consolidating Questions? Observations? Thoughts? Digital catalogue of ideas will be sent to you.