Looking at different ways to help support the growth and the development of young boys in the ECE sector can be making sure that we have an inclusive environment that have multiple ways in which we can maximise their development and learning.
Our tamariki learn by interacting within their environment with and alongside their peers and teachers and with with equipment and materials that are arranged in a way that it can enhance the way that tamariki use the materials available. The environment should be a safe and healthy one that has the best interests of the child at heart. We need to tautoko the whole child-learning where the tamariki learn through their senses, their emotions, language and cognitive skills all at the same time. We need to be using all of their senses throughout the day in multiple ways possible. Boys need to have a sense of leadership and control while they are learning and can be done by collecting treasures, creating crafts, moving around the room, building different things like buildings, towers, bridges etc.
The environment needs to be up to date with the child’s learning and development so they are always extending their knowledge. Another one to empower our boys are to give them choices that make them feel like they have a say. We need to make sure our environments are spacious so that there are more opportunities to interact and join in play. If there is more space, more tamariki can have the chance to come and join in the play and contribute their own ideas etc.
Sometimes we need to remember to take a step back and let them make their mistakes, to gave the chance to resolve conflicts with their peers by themselves and some freedom to go about their day without being constantly observed and judged.
At Play Learn Grow we provide plenty of opportunities available for boys (and girls) to develop and strengthen their fine and gross motor skills, their hand -eye coordination, opportunities available for them to explore, problem solve and experiment. They need plenty of opportunities to be creative and to participate in art activities that help foster their creative skills.
In our environments we have resources that our tamariki can use in many other ways. Two options of open ended play examples are sandpit and water play, there are many ways to use these and extend these in their play. At Play Learn Grow early childcare we have sandpits for under 2 year olds, 2 – 4 year olds and in the over 4 year olds playground areas.
For closed ended play we have puzzles which can be done once and only one way. There are also resources that can help tautoko dramatic play for boys like hard hats, fireman hat and coats, clothes, suitcase or briefcase, and then there are the smaller things like animals, people, sort toys and dolls. With these resources they can help extend the child’s learning and their play. This is role playing which they would have seen at home or out in the community.
Ways in which we can help extend a boy-friendly environment can be by adding extras into different areas for example, the book area. Play Learn Grow provide books about cars, trucks, construction, animals, yucky things, science and insects. We use our colour A3 printer as a learning tool and add some photos of some of these things for visuals. In our block area Play Learn Grow add some more kids of blocks, animals, cars and trucks, and construction toys as well as adding some pictures into this area too.
In our whānau corner we introduce equipment like a BBQ, a mini workbench, a kitchen unit, a briefcase, gardening tools, tools, toy lawn mower etc. The art area has plenty of boxes, bottle tops, empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash and other resources that you use in the home to help extend their play and their learning.
Feel free to email us with any other ideas you have.