In the Fantail room, we have embarked on a journey into recycled materials and the possibilities they possess. The Fantail teachers have set up many provocations throughout this journey to ensure that children are gaining an understanding of recycled materials in their entirety through the power of light.
Light is something that is apart of our everyday life. It guides us in the darkness and highlights things we can’t see. We see light as a tool to help support children in their explorations.
Recently, the Fantail team have set up the lightbox with recycled materials, looking at how the lightbox is supporting the children to gain an understanding of these resources. Through the lightbox, children are able to see the detail of the materials more clearly; things that seem flat and one-dimensional suddenly come to life with the power of light. Light enables us to see things through a new lens.
We found that the lightbox sparked the children’s curiosity and excitement in exploring the recycled materials available. In our observations of children in this space, we see working theories about texture and shape forming. The use of black and white materials mean children can see textures of resources illuminate as they manipulate the material in their hands. A sharp black object becomes highlighted, and every edge of the shape begins to form under the light.
Our children have been spending long periods of time at the lightbox, getting to know every hole, every curl, and every ridge of these materials. The explorations that have been occurring are those of in-depth thinkers building on their foundational knowledge of the material. They are expanding their understanding.
We have seen the children manipulate and combine materials to view them in a new way. Some children have been stacking materials on top of each other watching as the light catches the gaps in their towers. Other children have been hiding the resources underneath a different material and watching as the outline of that resource shines through.
The lightbox has been a way for children to communicate their understandings of these materials to the Fantail teachers. The way they use the materials informs us what they know and how this new knowledge can be used to extended their working theories in other aspects of their learning. This was evident in the use of the lightbox as a tool to support children in their exploration of recycled materials. They now have a better understanding of the material as a whole and how this recycled material can have a purpose in their world.