Guardian Childcare & Education

Learning in the Light Space at Caringbah

26th October 2017

Caringbah early learning centre light exploration

It’s been non-stop action at Guardian Early Learning Centre – Caringbah over the last few months. This childcare centre in the Shire has been busy setting up a new light space area and having a lot of fun along the way.

Using projectors donated from the local high school, this space focusses on intentional teaching where educators take an active role in children’s learning and builds on children’s interests and skills.

The educators followed the children’s interests in shapes and colours in the numeracy area and furthered these with explorations in light and shadow. Here the children have more space to explore the shapes and see them in a different dimension. By using materials that the children were already familiar with – light box, coloured counters, and coloured mosaic blocks Hannah Barnett, Caringbah’s Centre Manager says, “we thought this would be a good way to transition interest into the space.”

“I was eager to use the projectors that were donated by Caringbah High School,” says Hannah, which added another element and opportunity for exploration.

Caringbah early learning centre light exploration

It was important to Hannah to consider things from a child’s perspective and ask questions such as such as ‘where would the light reflect to? Would I be able to see it if I was down on the ground? What if I wanted to lay on my back is there a way to reflect it onto the ceiling?’

From here it was trial and error making the space look aesthetically appealing and giving it purpose and function. Most importantly, it was making sure the objects and machines brought into the space could be easily used by the children.

“Through professional discussions between educators we were really happy to find we had created a space that made you feel surrounded by colour, even down on the children’s levels,” says Hannah.

In these experiences children are being exposed to the concepts of light and shadow and gives them an opportunity to appreciate the awe and wonder of the world around them.

They have been identifying shapes when projected onto the wall, sorting colours on the projector, collecting groups of colours and putting them onto the projector to see it projected on the wall and naming/describing what they see. To further support the children, educators have been using appropriate language such as ‘reflection’ and ‘mirror’ to heighten the children’s knowledge within the space and develop their language skills.

Hannah adds, “It’s interesting to see the children working out if the reflected shadows and shapes are ‘real’ and if they are tangible. Quite often the children will reach out to touch the shapes on the wall and be surprised that all they feel is the smooth wall! By also focussing on our attention to the language we use at this early age the children are becoming equipped with the necessary understanding for our world.”

These discoveries then transition into the outdoor space as the children have begun to recognise their patterns and shadows on the ground. The educators provoke thought and inquiry through questioning such as ‘how do the objects change when placed on the light box?’, ‘Are there many shades of this colour?’ and ‘does it look the same? Why/why not?’

Hannah says, “the basic learning of shapes and colours is being transitioned to promote higher order thinking capacity to not only recognise that the colour blue is both on the shape and on the wall but understanding the how and why behind this happening. Children begin to see the world not in a static state but one of three dimensional possibilities!”

Our educators spend a lot of time and thought in creating these learning experiences for children. Through these explorations and experimentations, children are developing a wide range of skills that helps to foster curiosity, creativity and a lifelong love of learning.

Learn more about Guardian Early Learning Centre – Caringbah

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