February 23, 2016

Every week, we refresh our shelves with new and exciting work. This week, we put out an assortment of new practical life activities. These works help children to develop self efficacy, independence, and fine motor skills. Some of our new materials on this shelf are soap grating, in which children rub a bar of soap on a grater (once we have enough grated soap we'll use it to make bubbles!) and a new lacing work, with animal-shaped lacers and shoelaces. Both of these works challenge children's fine motor skills and bilateral coordination--when both hands work together doing different things to complete a task. Strengthening these skills is important for general fine motor development, which will help children with pencil grip, as well as independence and self-care skills.

One of our goals in the past several weeks of the animal investigation has been to help the children think about bodies: how animals look, what parts of their bodies are similar and different to our own, and how various body parts work.  This analytical approach precedes a more detailed theme of form and function that is emerging as a key line of questioning in the investigation.  One way we invited children to explore this topic was by giving every child a turn to make a "loose parts animal."  Using a variety of materials selected from the atelier closet, kids were asked to make large, detailed arrangements representing an animal of their choosing.  Often, this required them to use source photographs for careful observation.  Here is a selection of animals created using this technique: