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Following and Building on Childrens Interests and Ideas

The teachers came across a large empty cardboard box. Without a defined plan we presented it to the children and watched how they chose to use it. At first a number of children decided to paint the box with the painting materials (these are always available for the children to use as they please.) The cardboard box became a collaborative canvas, as they took turns to add their own marks offering a surface for expression and shared storytelling. The children showed true ownership and pride of this shared artwork/object. Once the box was dry it became a fixture in other play episodes for over a week. It was transformed to be a variety of things from transport vehicles to a Chinese Takeaway Shop.

The teachers observed the children playing ‘shops’, the box was a tiny space overflowing with objects (heaped with as many toys as could be grabbed and contained in the space), at times it also included two or more small bodies depending on how many customers wished to visit the shop. Everyone wanted a turn, but the space was just too small. The teachers chose to present an idea to the children, ‘Would they like to make a bigger shop in our classroom?’ The children responded enthusiastically to this idea and working on this project. At a class meeting we talked about the items we’d need to make our shop – an apron for the shopkeeper, things to buy, money and cash register. The children were asked to share our idea at home. This was a lovely opportunity to talk about the learning happening in the classroom with our families and to ask for their involvement by helping us to collect food packaging to stock our shop.

Building and playing in the shop has offered the children the opportunity to develop and strengthen their skills in a variety of areas:

Mathematical – counting out money, giving prices to products, counting objects, recognising number numerals (number fans, 100’s charts and 200’s charts), sorting and ordering objects by attribute, taking turns using the sand timer (5 minute blocks)

Literacy – writing signs, writing numerical prices, listening to and reading books (independently, in pairs, small groups and whole class) about shops and shopping experiences

Social Skills – taking turns to carry out different roles – being the shopkeeper or a customer, and learning how to work together to make our shop successful and fun.

Some of our favourite stories about shopping:

Don’t Forget the Bacon

Sheep in a Shop

Fairy Shopping

Ten Dogs in the Window

To Market, to Market

These books can be borrowed from the ICS Library.

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