Although my passion is teaching older children, I’m currently learning so much about early childhood development as a mother of a toddler. Babies are natural explorers, everything is new! After my son carefully examines an object visually, he tries to stretch it or bang it against something to test is physical properties and then there’s the inevitable taste. He’s always been pretty good at understanding that it’s not exactly safe to try and eat everything, so now he just goes in for a very brief lick. I have to work hard to remain calm and patient because I don’t want to deter the natural curiosity that children often lose as they grow up — while making sure my son isn’t poisoned!
But it’s also got me thinking about how we might incorporate more sensory learning into experiences for all age levels. Next week is our innovation summit. We are going to try transforming the learning environment to be more visually stimulating than just a normal classroom space. And we will also try asking the participants to make a 3D representation of alternatives to how we currently teach and learn — using a lot of my son’s toys such as Lego’s, play dough, etc. It reminds me of the Lifelong Kindergarten Project at MIT.
Do you know of other examples of sensory learning for all ages? We’ll post pictures of our Innovation Summit and let you know how it goes!