ICS Early Years Center Blog

Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

November 7, 2013
by Andrea Mills
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Joyful Rainy Day Possibilities

Water play is an essential component of a quality Early Years program, offering interesting and dynamic opportunities for learning and interacting. At ICS, we feel strongly it is important to provide children with rich outdoor sensory experiences, in addition to those offered by the conventional classroom water table. Some may be tempted to peek out the window and view today’s rain and wind as a deterrent to the great outdoors. It was inspiring to look at the three years olds in Rebecca Smith’s class, who clearly recognise the possibilities of a rainy morning. P1110055Children develop problem solving skills as they explore concepts like floating and sinking as they build understandings about how and why thing happen.

Some wise person once said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”. We are fortunate that children in our program come prepared for outdoor learning in most weather. Rainy day outdoor water play offers countless learning opportunities without the constraints of space and worries about spills. Young children are natural scientists and explorations in the rain promote an authentic sense of wonder in a unique way that is unmatched by an indoor space. P1110062 Water is an ideal substance to learn about concepts of more/less, empty/full, before/after as well as principles of physics like water force, effects of gravity and much more. Children must utilise complex mathematical/ scientific thinking. P1110056 Water play promotes language development as children learn new vocabulary like funnel, measuring cup, sieve, moisture, etc. They are also actively using language with peers and teachers to make sense of their experience.  P1110044 These children were required to use language abundantly and develop negotiation techniques to navigate complex social situations including sharing space/materials and working together toward common goals and shared ideas. P1110065 The success of these rich, rainy day explorations is clear from the children’s engagement with the materials and each other. We teachers also feel refreshed and inspired after some joyful outdoor learning time.

Photos by Rebecca Smith (ICS EY Teacher)

Collaborative Problem Solving – Water Play

March 18, 2013 by Heidi Harman | 0 comments

Water play is a daily learning experience available to our EY1 students. It fosters creative learning in all areas of their development and, because it is such an open-ended activity, it provides opportunities for extended learning. Providing a variety of materials with the water encourages the children to try out new ideas and find solutions to problems.

    

We posed a challenge for the children, which was to transfer the coloured water from the water tray in the upstairs classroom to a large bucket located down on the stairs. As the children began to manipulate the water play materials, they quickly started to problem-solve and work out how best to transfer the water. The children were incredibly creative with their ideas about how to move the water. They communicated well and worked together to achieve their goal. Their encouragement of each other was truly inspirational! The children were experimenting with mathematical concepts throughout this learning experience and were using mathematical language such as more, less, empty, full etc. New vocabulary was also quickly learnt and it was wonderful to hear words such as funnel, syringe and tubing being used so confidently.

It was delightful to see our students further developing their social skills as they played cooperatively, negotiated together and shared space and materials!

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