Friday, January 4, 2008

DO Touch

Children are enthusiastic touchers. They are passionate about touching things, experiencing different surfaces and textures.

So often we say, "Don't touch" but today (because I need the reminding myself), I encourage you to say,
"Do touch" to your children. The sense of touch is a primary way children have of classifying their experiences and learning from them. It is important then, for them to have many opportunities for tactile experiences in the classroom and at home.

Typically you will find the following materials available to children in a Children's House (3-6 year old Montessori program):

A basket containing rough and smooth items:
This is an introductory activity to introduce children to the variety of textures. The basket contains beautiful, natural objects that have interesting textures and that allow the child to classify "rough" and "smooth"
Touch boards
There are 3 boards in this series. The boards (covered with various grades sandpaper) aims are to observe, compare, discriminate and refine the ability to determine different textures.
Touch tablets
A box containing 5 pairs of sandpaper covered tablets. Each pair has a slightly different color and gradation of roughness.
Fabric Box #1
A box or basket containing approximately 8 pairs of different type fabric (velvet, wool, silk, gauze, burlap, corduroy, cotton, satin, linen, muslin, etc.). Each fabric piece is about 6" square and the edges are finished.
Fabric Box #2
The same organization as Box #1 except the fabric is all the same color and varies only in texture.

If you do not have these Montessori materials available to you rest assured. Simple activities such as passing a sea shell found at the beach, can be included in circle activities. By sharing interesting natural objects you will encourage your children to develop their tactile sense, you will offer them new vocabulary when describing the items (rough, smooth, coarse, silky) and you expand their scope of the natural world by exposing them to items they may not have an opportunity to see in their back yard.

If you are able, creating a nature table is a wonderful way to introduce a variety of nature's gifts to young children. It is also a nice way to encourage the children to observe the natural world around them; ask them to bring in objects from nature to share with the group. I think I'll post more about that...

Today I say, "DO TOUCH" and enjoy the sensations and discoveries you may have.
My toddler and I made the following observations this afternoon:
Evergreen trees are prickly, a cat's tongue is rough, the inside of my fancy shoe is smooth,
water is wet, snow is cold, towels just out of the dryer are warm and soft...


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