Building with 4 year olds


Building with 4 year olds

It’s an exciting time when services decide to renovate their outdoor environments. At this point though, many services are concerned about the balance between safety and risk. There is an emphasis on protecting children from harm and hazards in the NQS and Regs, but did you know that there is also the requirement for services to provide “challenging elements of outdoor and indoor environments that allow for experiences that scaffold children’s learning and development and offer chances for appropriate risk taking?” NQS Guide 3.1.1 What is appropriate?

EYLF and MTOP also include risk taking as evidence of children’s progress towards learning outcomes eg

1.2 children take considered risk in their decision-making and cope with the unexpected

3.1 Children make choices, accept challenges, take considered risks,

4.2 Educators plan learning environments with appropriate levels of challenge where children are encouraged to take appropriate risks

Here Tyler and Darcy are removing the excess dirt from the area that will be the maze at Dubbo Early Learning. Ensure children are helping and working for you. In previous regulations we needed to give notice to the department before this type of activity and children were removed. What learning opportunities were our wonderful children missing out on?

Here Dale and Darcy are measuring the hole to see if it is deep enough for the post and concrete.

In this photo children are moving the bark chips from the car park to the new maze area.  This activity also includes lots of early numeracy learning. Below is the finished maze which was designed and constructed with the children.

The maze provides a space to create very interesting dramatic play

During outside play, Educator Brandi was walking around the playground and heard singing coming from the maze. As she approached the maze, there was Mia and Maddee (from Preschool.) She then found Ava and Jade both laying on the ground in different spots. She asked Ava and Jade why they were laying on the ground and they responded by telling Brandi that they had died during battle. Mia then told Brandi that she was singing because it was their funeral. The girls were very involved in their dramatic play.


Family camping trips create a learning environment that leads to calm


Family camping trips create a learning environment that leads to calm.

Samuel used the bark pieces in the outdoor environment to construct with, making them into one big pile. Mel the Educator asked Samuel “what is it?” Samuel said “fire”. Mel asked “like the fire you made with Daddy on your camping trip?” Samuel replied “yes” and nodded his head as he continued to build the fire.

Planning the environment on the spot

Mel the Educator extended on Samuel’s interest inside. Mel set up a campsite with pots, pan and a fire made from cellophane. Samuel was intrigued by this as he gathered around. Matt the Educator placed the pan onto the fire and asked Samuel “What can we cook?” Samuel replied “eggs.” Matt then asked him “where can we get the eggs?” Samuel walked over to the home corner, returning with an egg and placing it into the pan (demonstrating he was actively listening and understood what Matt had asked).

Samuel’s friends Archie, Harriet and Ignatius showed interest as they also began to gather items from the home corner and place them into the pan on the fire (actively contributing to the experience.) Matt then exclaimed “our food is ready.” Samuel walked back to the home corner where he grabbed the plates in a basket (demonstrating his understanding of sequence and order and what comes next.) Harriet & Archie enjoyed sharing   Samuel’s family culture as they were watching and learning. They continued to engage in pretend play freely recreating this camping experience.

Samuel and Archie extended this play experience by moving over to where the dinosaurs were. They both placed the dinosaurs on the table where Matt was sitting. Samuel proceeded to transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another by getting the plates and food for the dinosaurs to eat.

Matt became the intentional teacher and planned on the spot by arranging the plates, food and dinosaurs in a sequence – three dinosaurs, three plates and three lots of food. Samuel handed Matt another dinosaur and Matt arranged it on the table and asked Samuel “What does this dinosaur need?” Immediately Samuel contributed constructively to mathematical argument by identifying the dinosaur was missing a plate and food and proceeded to get them for the fourth dinosaur.

See how planning the play environment occurs on the spot.


Building relationships with children and families to create calm


Building relationships with children and families can happen in many different ways. From here it becomes very easy to create learning environments.

Look below to see how a hairdressing salon was established. The parent sees the children’s interest in hairdressing and her hairdresser came in to give a lesson.

We heard of one service recently getting a dad who was an electrician to come in and do some work. While there he had a discussion with children about light bulbs and batteries, and children asked lots of questions about electricity and how things work.

A new baterry and light table was set up from this experience.

Do the children at your service love showing you what they can do? Are they proud when they set up their own play activities after deciding for themselves what they would like to do? These children are displaying their sense of agency. “I can do this.” At the same time educators are building trusting, respectful relationships with children as they encourage children to find their own voice and follow through on their ideas. “I believe in you.” “I have confidence in your abilities.”

It’s much easier for children and educators to do this when a service has inviting spaces for independent and collaborative play, when furniture and resources are appropriate for children’s development and interests, and when the layout of activities and resources takes into account a child’s perspective. “Can I reach that?” “Will I be interrupted?” “Is it too big?” “Can I play here with my friends?”

“We sorted the loose parts including kitchen bits and pieces and recycling and set up a focus table with all metal things on it. This was connected to Tom’s experiments with magnets which led to a lot of experimental play for everyone. In contrast to the table with metal, I moved our plants down from the high shelves and put them on a low table making sure to include lavender as a strong sensory experience. ” Penny, Brandi and Tamara

“I set the book shelf up as an instrument display and invitation for the children to play.” Penny

Do we as educators really listen to children’s comments about the settings and resources? Do we seek feedback from children and families about potential changes? Remember that to be “suitable for their purpose” buildings, spaces, furniture and resources don’t just have to ‘do their job’ eg be a space for quiet, restful activities. They have to encourage children to engage in activities which invite open ended interactions and promote learning outcomes eg explore, solve problems, create, construct.

Tamara had the children turn our city road map into a country
farmscape instead using paint and adding toy animals. All this came from a desire to follow Angus’ interest and family culture as he lives on a farm.

How are children given the opportunity to plan and modify the outdoor and indoor environment at your service?

How do you encourage children to participate in their community? One way is to participate in local community festivals. Have a look below at how educators at Dubbo ELC actively encouraged children to be involved in the DREAM festival which celebrates the local creative community. There is a DREAM lantern parade where children can showcase lanterns they make along with those of professional artists. Lantern making workshops were held for school groups and the general public.  Dubbo ELC educators held their own lantern workshops. See the following extract from their Curriculum Planning Sheets.

“Dubbo Dream festival has begun and to help join in the community spirit we have been making some lanterns this week. There will be twilight markets and a big lantern parade in town on Saturday night and I’m thinking some of the children will be there. We have made our lanterns in the shape of fish to continue our fishy theme. Logan, Stella C, Stella L, Chace, and Lilliana did lots of weaving in and out with crepe paper strips. Penny (educator) was impressed when Stella C called the strip of paper a streamer without any prompting. We tried to do some of our weaving outside and Alice and Georgia enjoyed the way the wind blew the streamer making it dance around in the air.

We continued making lanterns today. Alice, Georgia, Jasmine, Lincon, Lilliana, and Bell all worked very hard to decorate our paper lantern fish with textas. Jasmine tried using her left and right hands alternately. She concentrated hard and took special care to put the lid back on after using each one. Alice and Georgia named each colour as they picked it up.”

“Assessors may observe an environment that reflects the lives of children and families…and discuss how the service builds connections between the service and the local community..” NQS Guide 6.3.4

Does your local community hold a festival? How do you ensure children participate? If there is no local festival, have a look at what’s on in the broader community?


Create a calm environment with cardboard box


Penny creates a calm environment with cardboard boxes.

Banged heads and running inside solved with a large cardboard box.

Penny the room leader of 18 month to 2 ½ year olds uses cardboard boxes from a big chain of stores. They even deliver the boxes to the centre. The cubby house has round windows which means the children are more careful when entering and exiting the cubby.

When the cushions are in the cubby the children are less rough. They can’t run and jump into them. We have less banged head accidents now.


Conversations to create calm


You should not be looking at the equipment and asking what activity you can do with it – and you should not be thinking about what activity you feel like doing today because it’s easy, not messy or you know another service that did it.

What do your children want to do? Ask them. What are they interested in? Talk to them and start conversations with their families. What is their life like at home? Find out information about their culture, siblings, extended family, pets, after school activities and use it to plan your curriculum.  With the babies and non-verbal children families are an especially important source of information. Surround the young babies with pictures from their life and they will show you what they are interested in.

Babies Example

“This morning while Jackson was happily sitting in the bean bag. I (Lesley) handed him a photo of one of the many dog pictures we have in the room. We have the dog pictures as families have pet dogs.  He looked at the photo for a bit. He was very intrigued with it. While he had the photo he started to smile and point as he was looking at it, and he couldn’t stop laughing. I gave him some of the other dog photos to look at and he was smiling and laughing at all of them. He displayed that he can explore relationships between living things as he was very happy to see the different dogs. This made me wonder what he does at home with his pet dog. Why does he find him so funny. Now I’m curious. I can’t wait to have a conversation with dad to discover more.

After conversation with dad …..To continue on with Jackson’s humour and love of dogs we have discovered his dog loves to play fetch with a ball. ‘Billy’ the dog retrieves the ball and drops it over to Jackson. Dad explained they continue throwing the ball and laughing for a long time.

To extend on our new knowledge about the game Jackson and Billy play we crawled around the floor pretending to be dogs and fetching the ball. We added many new words to our vocabulary – woof, run, fetch, retrieve, shake and bark.”


“Lilliana loves doing our exercises just like her mum. After each exercise we did she’d say ‘what’s next’ and would eagerly wait to be told. The children loved doing star jumps, jumping in and out. We did 10 star jumps today and counted each one. Tom and Oliver had so much fun they kept going until Tom counted to 15!

Faith watched her Uncle Jacob play cricket on the weekend. Faith also loves to play golf with her dad and even helps to pick up all the balls when they have finished. Faith loves all types of physical activity, just like her dad and uncle.

To extend on Faith’s interest in balls, we explored Faith, Alexis and Mia’s fascination with why the ball would continue to go around the rim of the tyre. Georgina explained to the girls that gravity along with motion helps to keep the ball going around and around the tyre. Georgina and the girls experimented by changing the speed they pushed the ball. If we went too fast the ball would go up and over the edge of the tyre. If the motion was too slow the ball would fall into the centre as there was not enough motion to keep it moving forward.”

Great work Rachel and Georgina, teaching children maths and physics at age two.

It has to be that easy. The more you know about how families live the more you are able to easily extend on children’s interests.

True Story by Matthew Stapleton

“Recently I helped a family day care mother. She has 3 boys aged 2, 5 and 7 living with her after they were removed from their family and community. The older boys have to leave school at 12 noon everyday due to their so- called behaviour issues. I went to the park with mum and the boys to teach mum some learning strategies. The 7 year old was illiterate. I followed his interest in climbing. He was amazing at it and I kept telling him how amazing he was. I taught him to count every step or every grasp along the monkey bars. I followed this by showing him Olympic gymnastics videos on my phone. He copied the moves perfectly. After he showed me his exciting skills I suggested we could write it up together. Within an hour and a half he was writing because he could see a purpose to it.

It concerns me that his school teachers find it easier to remove him from the school than in trying to find a way to engage him ie through following an interest. His teachers called this a behaviour problem, but none have stopped to listen to what he needs and wants. The most awful part of this experience was when he said “Thanks for learning me today.” He wants to learn, but is rejected at every turn. His comment made me very angry and appreciated at the same time.”

Do you have any children with behaviour issues at your service? How are you meeting their needs and wants?
How are you bringing their interests into the Curriculum?

When you have an understanding of children’s everyday lives, it’s easy to make connections to their community. Community is important. EYLF uses this word 67 times which is not surprising because the theory behind EYLF emphasises that learning comes from the connections children have with their community and families.

How do you make connections? Here are some ideas:

  • Go on excursions to places of interest eg a service recently visited their local Pet Barn store
  • Plan activities that relate to children’s after school activities, pets, parents’ jobs eg help children make an advertisement inviting others to the activity. Extend by making a newspaper with all the ads
  • Arrange guest speakers/presenters
  • Explore where activities/points of interest are on a map and extend numeracy and literacy skills at the same time
  • Set up a mailbox so children can write letters/address envelopes to local organisations
  • Arrange an exhibition of children’s art/craft at a local shopping centre
  • Find out what activities happened at children’s birthday parties – a definite source of interests
  • Get children to talk about their friends. Where do they see them?
  • What do children watch on TV/listen to?
  • What is their favourite food? Is there a reason this is a favourite eg they like going to a certain restaurant, their family is Indian/Chinese etc. Set up a ‘restaurant’ with the children

Once you start an activity, see where it can take you using the children’s cues and comments. This is how we extend learning. We have to be adaptable and flexible. That great idea we were going to do this afternoon may have to wait because the children are just so interested in continuing to explore what you’re doing right now.

For example, children at one service played with shells and sand after some visited the beach on the weekend. Educators extended this activity by helping children conduct some interesting experiments to see what sounds were made when children dropped things onto the shells. Did the size of something affect the sound? They talked about loud and soft sounds and high and low sounds.

Do you include discussions about science and nature in everyday learning activities? How could you improve?

How do you ensure you listen and act on children’s views and ideas about learning activities?


Building a climbing frame with 4 year olds to create calm


Building with 4 year olds

An outdoor setting that promoted conflict and frustration was remodelled and renovated using design principles to create a structure and learning space for children to trial physical challenge and risk.

Extending on my design process involving the use of risk as a pedagogical element in babies’ and toddlers’ outdoor environment, a lead Educator in a regional NSW Long Day Care service together with her class of 4 year olds built a 5 metre high climbing tower.

Many concept designs were generated and refined.  Children evaluated the various designs demonstrating their agency, determining that a pyramid structure was the best design option.

The lead Educator had to overcome barriers to implement the design. Firstly, the Educator’s lack of knowledge about how to build this type of structure was overcome by incorporating families’ feedback and technical advice. This type of interaction strengthened partnerships with families and they donated the tools required to build the structure.

Secondly, other Educators had both a perceived fear about what children were capable of and the potential risks involved in building and playing on the structure, and a real fear about the lack of prescription in the National Early Childhood Education and Care Regulations. For example, Educators commented that the Regulations didn’t allow for such a high structure when in fact they contain no explicit detail about playground structures. Not surprisingly, building stopped when the lead Educator wasn’t present.

When building the structure, the children collaboratively learnt how to conceptualise, design, plan and construct. There were numerous opportunities to promote learning that engaged mathematical concepts including counting, measuring, sequencing, depth, size and angles.

Families were pleased to see their children involved in ‘real work’ with a significant outcome.

One parent said, “it’s about time they learnt real things” in relation to the building process.

With guidance from the lead Educator, the children developed the risk benefit analysis and then the rules children needed to follow when using the pyramid. Showing leadership they also taught the three year olds who shared the learning space these rules. For example, no more than two children can climb the structure at any time.

The structure’s height unexpectedly gave children the opportunity to view the immediate community. It expanded learning ‘beyond the fence’ which in turn has generated weekly excursions into the local community, for example to the hardware shop and the battery wholesalers. These excursions provide rich opportunities for Educators to extend learning and explore community protocols.

What started as a hands-on project to help children develop their physical skills and trial risk led to the opportunity of exploring the local community and expanding the learning environment beyond the service boundary.

The four year olds at the battery shop they could see over the fence.

When your environment has meaning to the children they will be naturally more engaged.


Creating a calm outside environment


Case study – creating a calm outside environment

Not all early childhood environments are purposely designed for the care and education of children. In this case study I explain how I solved the problem of inappropriate playground interactions by drawing on my design qualifications and existing research to implement the phenomenon of belonging in an outdoor environment through a new research design method.

Below is the orignal space that was designed for 0-3year old children. The problem was it created lots of banged heads as children ran from one side to another.

The original outdoor playground was part of a new community/residential development in rural NSW. The developer’s interpretation of natural play space extended to a few trees on the fence line, a sand pit and grassed areas. This design resulted in a lot of conflict and frustration among the children and educators. Daily practice saw the equipment, usually simple climbing frames and bikes, removed from the shed and placed in the environment. At all times educators and children could clearly see the entire space and the play activities taking place. Children were not engaged in activities for long periods of time. They moved from one area to another continuously, and if a small group were engaged they were disturbed by the ever moving mob of other children. This was confirmed through interviews, video and photographic data along with an analysis of accident reports that indicated children’s ongoing movement around the space was contributing to a high incidence of injuries, often resulting from banged heads. Educators described their experience in the outdoor environment as exhausting and used the words ‘crowd control’ to highlight their actions.

The use of activity pockets

Activity pockets can be described as spaces that “surround public gathering places with pockets of activities – small, partly enclosed areas at the edges, which jut forward into the open space between the paths, and contain activities which make it natural for people to pause and get involved”. A mosaic of subculture is “an identifiable place and separate from other subcultures by boundary of nonresidential land. New ways of life can develop. People can choose the kind of subculture they wish to live in, and can still experience many ways of life different from their own. Since each environment fosters mutual support and a strong sense of shared values, individuals can grow.”

Final Designs

The final concepts produced a combination of eleven activity pockets and mosaics of subculture: 1) sandpit, 2) Concrete jungle,3) Three table area, 4) Circular area, 5) Tapering walls, 6) One table area, 7) Maze, 8) Creek Bed, 9) Tyre tower, 10) Mirrors, 11) Rock garden.

Children choose the activity pocket and subculture they wish to play in. With eleven activity pockets in which children are actively engaged, children are spread and segmented across the outdoor environment resolving the initial problem of injuries and unfocused play sessions.  Particular activity pockets are discussed below.

Activity Pockets 1-4: Sandpit, Concrete jungle, Three table area and Circular area

Four activity pockets are visible in the image above. I intentionally designed high walls so children couldn’t see across the playground, which in turned stopped the running, banged heads and limited play episodes. The small walls around the paths were strategically placed to ensure children had to stop and walk rather than run to enter a new area. The area’s surface comprises different materials to challenge young children’s locomotion skills. In this rural setting we don’t have great success with grass as a surface. There is not enough rainfall and the high traffic the surface experiences makes it too difficult to maintain. For this reason I re-conceptualised the grass into the concrete jungle structures next to the sand pit.

Activity Pocket 6 One Table area

Spaces for public gatherings include partly enclosed areas at the edge of the central path and clearly defined space which includes different ground textures of rocks, bark and compressed road base. The high walls stop children seeing across the yard and moving from one area to another. This encourages longer play episodes. The small wooden blocks create an entry by forming a mini wall where children need to walk around and gather at the table.  Educators use the table to create a subculture where new open ended material can be introduced or children resource their own learning by adding what they require.

Activity Pocket 7 Maze

This activity pocket sees a space that doesn’t give a clear view to where you could be heading, with walls 1.2 metres tall. Many bikes have been stuck in these walls and educators often witness children using teamwork to solve this mathematical problem.

When designing this pocket I used the mosaic of subculture concept by drawing on Richard Serra’s minimalist sculptures. Serra’s work “A Matter of Time” can be found in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao Spain. My personal experience with his work inspired me to introduce his concept of ‘not knowing what’s around the corner’ and ‘feeling small’, and in doing so I wanted the children to “experience many ways of life different from their own.” In the old, open environment, children didn’t have any areas to explore. Because of these new spaces they can use their imagination to create new worlds.

Here a group are playing chase with their push carts through the maze. When the outdoor environment was complete the larger bikes became stuck in the maze area. The children solved this problem by requesting these smaller, green push carts. These play episodes have lasted more than forty minutes, even with a large number of children in the area.  At the time of this photo, for example, there were thirty-five children in this play area. As children dart through and interact in the maze, they create a strong sense of shared values.

Activity Pocket 9 Tyre Tower

Using an existing, popular tyre tower design, I used risk as a pedagogical element in this activity pocket. The tower stands at two metres tall. As Little et al (2012) identified, children will only climb as high as they feel comfortable managing their own risk. Initial concerns from educators were raised regarding children failing as they thought the children would climb on the outside of the structure. To date, all children climb on the inside of the tower. Educators are trained not to encourage children to climb higher than they feel comfortable. Interestingly, when very young children enter the environment, the tyre tower is usually the first place they crawl to and pull themselves up on.

The tyre tower appears to have an unspoken membership among children. Observing children using the structure over time revealed an acceptance by the group when children make it to the top. For example, when the toddlers first entered the space the previously identified leaders of the group did not embark upon the climbing challenge whereas other members of the group happily engaged in the challenge. This altered the leadership structure of the group, both in the indoor and outdoor environments.

Activity Pocket 10 Mirror

Children form groups behind the mirror away from the view of adults. Adults are not needed as natural leaders appear among the children. On many occasions these play episodes last more than twenty minutes. The material used in the play episodes is usually rocks or other natural material.


Comparing the outdoor space before and after the redesign reveals many different play practices and interactions. A design process which promotes children’s sense of belonging creates space for children’s engagement with the environment and each other.  This is evidenced by longer play episodes, blossoming friendships, reduced playground accidents, and richer and more meaningful play activities. Educators report, for example, that they are no longer required to control a crowd of children and are amazed at the length of time play occurs in different spaces using only the most basic of natural resources.


Loose parts makes a clam environment


It is generally recognised that children’s opportunities for outdoor play are much more limited today than they were say 20 years ago. Reasons for this include increasing urban development, concerns about children’s welfare, parents’ working patterns and the increase in digital technologies.  This raises the question of what role ECEC and school based settings have in the provision of outdoor play environments.

Research suggests that pre-school policies and practices regarding outdoor play significantly influence children’s levels of physical activity. Reilly (2010) found that physical activity in childcare centres was typically very low while levels of sedentary behaviours were typically high. Things found to increase levels of physical activity include higher staff qualifications, excursions, square meters of space allocated to each child, vegetation and loose, unstructured materials.

You may think it obvious that more space leads to greater physical activity. However Moser and Martinsen point out that the “psychology of the space” ( ie whether it meets children’s play needs) and “opportunities for extended periods of time within the space” are just as important.

Studies have shown that public playgrounds do not match children’s interests because they do not offer the levels of challenge or risk children seek.  They show it’s important to understand how children view their outdoor environment and to make them aware of any challenges and risk. “Reduction of risk is through understanding of the environment rather than adult restriction.” This perspective requires adults to see children as “competent rather than …vulnerable and in need of adult protection.”

Play is an important aspect of children’s learning processes. Do we encourage and foster children’s participation in outdoor play? Do we hear their voices? Do we truly allow them to participate in defining and engaging with play environments? As Pramling Samuelsson (2010) states, “Accepting children as equal partners also means  to make play visible, since play is supposed to be a great part of the child’s world and the way into children’s social life and learning.”

The dynamics of early childhood spaces: opportunities for outdoor play? European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 18:4 437-443

Loose Parts for calm

Have a look around your service and answer the following questions:

  • Is it vibrant and attractive? Would you like to play here if you were a child?
  • Are the indoor and outdoor environments regularly reorganised to stimulate children’s interests and promote creativity?
  • Is there something that every child loves?
  • Are there quiet, restful places for children who need some time out or small group interactions?
  • Are there places where children can ‘hide’ from adults (while educators still supervise)?
  • Are there activities that challenge children and encourage them to take appropriate risks?
  • Are there spaces for team sports and physical play (especially important for school aged care)?
  • Has the environment been modified so children with additional needs feel comfortable and can participate? This does not just involve ramps and bathroom facilities but also colours, noise levels etc.
  • Can children reach things/do things without always asking an adult for help?
  • Are activities and furniture set up so children and adults walk around rather than through children’s play?
  • Are there lots of loose part resources inside as well as outside?
  • Are children encouraged to be active and get messy?
  • Are there things like sticks, leaves, water, grass, sand, rocks, mud to play with?
  • Are there things to climb like trees?
  • Are there open ended resources that children can use to build with and engage in imaginary play?

What can you improve? Pick three issues from the above list and reflect on them from a child’s perspective. Ask your children some of these questions and see what answers you get. eg what do you love here? What do you need help to reach? Which is your favourite space? Why?


Connecting to your community for resources makes a clam environment


When a service connects to their local community to provide resources the play becomes interesting and creates calm.

For example, this service made contact with a local picture framer and gathered their used cardboard cylinders for loose parts play.

Here are the toddlers setting up and playing with the cylinders.

This is the 4 to 5 year old children with their cylinders and wooden slats that are from an old bed.


Sewing with children creates calm


Sewing with children creates calm

Recently at one service the preschool children have been encouraged to prepare and set the tables at meal times. This involves adding a table cloth, placing the plates and cups on the table and any necessary cutlery. This routine prompted a conversation about buying table cloths to put on the tables. Miss Cherie went to Spotlight and purchased some bright materials to make into tablecloths. From this, the children used the sewing machine to edge the material.

Wow. Wasn’t this an interesting life lesson!

The children took turns sitting at the sewing machine and using the foot pedal to manipulate the speed of the needle. Gemma told Miss Cherie that she sometimes does sewing with her mum to make clothes. Annie, Matthew, Luke, Ryan, Max and Hunter also had a turn. Matthew demonstrated a very steady hand when holding and moving the material. Matthew was able to confidently reassess where the material was sitting each time he put his foot back on the pedal. Ryan told Miss Cherie that sometimes his Ma likes sewing and that she is very good.

This experience allowed the children to learn a new life skill. This skill encourages the use of the children’s fine motor, hand-eye coordination, small object manipulation and persistence to learn new things, but most of all created an environment that was challenging and in turn created calm.

The photo above is a child sewing a table cloth. The photo below is a patchwork cushion cover sewn by a child.

How are children given the opportunity to plan and modify their outdoor and indoor environment at your service?