By Lucia Stacchiotti
“Reality, as always happens in children’s hands, reveals once again its infinite potential for transformation.”
Malaguzzi (Reggio Children Centre)
A few weeks ago Rachel and I started to observe that the children really love investigating and creating in the Kitchen area and they usually explore it using the natural table, moving natural elements in the kitchen.
Consequently, we decided to follow their interest and extend it with a new kitchen that can be able to develop their potential and explorations.
During these last two days we set out with the children on an ambitious carpenter project! Marco worked with the children to make a new kitchen for our Preschool room with the spare wood that we did not use for the backyard project.
Why we believe in skill building experiences
Woodwork is an ideal way of supporting children to work in their ‘zone of proximal development’. What children can do and know is always being extended by the open-nature of woodworking requiring children to be problem-solvers. They often model what they see others doing and with guidance children get tremendous pleasure from being able to master new skills and achieve what they could not do previously.
Through this woodwork project, the children experienced how a process works: we observed all the phases and we took part in it. The children were able to develop problem-solving, creative thinking and conceptualisation as they took part in planning for the kitchen and helping to build it.
They developed eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. Most importantly this project encouraged them to be responsible, resilient and Independent – in developing a respect for tools and materials. This gave them increased awareness and understanding of the world around them. We are encouraging them to explore in a responsible way: I feel trusted.
When I work with peers I have to cooperate and explain my ideas and plans. I am working on my fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. I have to use math skills, such as shape, size, contrast, comparing, spatial relationships and problem-solving. I also get to be creative and use my imagination!
Furthermore, we noticed that they were completely focused in the experience and calm and relax; although they were extremely excited!
And as Montessori reminds: “what the hands make the minds remembers!”
A few quotes from our keen builders
Lewis: “I am a builder, I am a builder!”
Sidney: “My drill, my turn Marco!”
Hugo: “My turn please!”
Liam: “New kitchen, new kitchen!”
Edward: “I am making a hole! Look at me!”
Sidney: “Big kitchen, big boy!”
The children still re-elaborate their experience and they transferred it during play; Sidney brought his drill and hammer, sharing with all the peers and Marco. Mark and Liam were sanding the kitchen.
“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, feel free to follow their interests and grow.” A. Kohn