When given the choice of seven activities all three of the children, aged two years old, went straight for the sandpit to draw letters in the sand with thick and long sticks. The children doing the activity love to draw by making shapes and different movements with a variety of implements, for example paint, colouring pencils or chalk, which is similar to writing in the sand in many different ways. This means spelling out the letters in the sand can be used as a way of stimulating interest in writing. Whilst spelling letters in the sand pit the children were developing in many different ways. In terms of personal, social and emotional development the children were all confident to try a new activity, initiated ideas about the sand and made links to the beach and all spoke happily in the small group. Whilst I was instructing the children as to what we would be doing they sat quietly, maintained concentration and attention.
They then took off their shoes and socks independently, demonstrating they can manage their own personal hygiene by undressing. One child in particular was very keep to be shown how to draw the letters and showed a real interest to learn. It also enabled me to continue building a good relationship with the children. In terms of physical development it gave the children to use a range of small and large equipment, mainly a variety of sized sticks. The children were handling the sticks and other objects safely and with increased control. In terms of communication, language and speech development the children used language to imagine and recreate experiences, ideas and feelings they had that related to sand. They were not very good at taking it turns in conversation, which made it challenging to have group conversations. By doing this sort of activity enabled the children to extend their vocabulary, exploring the meanings and sounds of new words as a group.
In terms of literacy development this activity gave the children the opportunity to use familiar and common words whilst developing their writing skills by drawing out the different letters. With one child I was supporting them whilst writing their own name. By the end of the activity they were all using a pencil and holding it effectively to form recognisable letters. In terms of numeracy, the children were drawing a variety of shapes in the sand which allowed me to use new words with them to further develop their vocabulary. I also used everyday words to help reinforce their existing vocabulary in a new context. In terms of arts and design development the children got to explore a different texture and produced a variety of shapes where there was space in the sand. They also responded in a variety of ways to what they saw, heard and felt. In terms of understanding of the world the children used their senses to investigate objects and materials by used.
The children also constructed letters with an object and adapted their work where necessary. As demonstrated the children were extending their learning and development throughout the activity in all seven developmental areas. They also all demonstrated their enjoyment during the activity by smiling, laughing, talking and happily asking questions. It is important when planning and co-ordinating an activity your expectations are of the right level to encourage the child to achievement. If you do not expect enough, children rarely complain. However, they underperform and lose confidence in their abilities to achieve. They show symptoms of anger, anxiety, and depression. Although differing abilities and learning styles in children cannot be ignored, children may achieve more and fulfil adults’ expectations if more is expected of them.
High standards can be effective motivators. Furthermore, by having too higher expectations can also cause problems for children. Highly competitive goals that feel impossible to achieve can cause children to procrastinate, give up, feel stressed, and show the same symptoms of anger, anxiety, and depression. Of course, that does not mean they are unable to achieve those expectations; it only means that they do not believe they can. They feel pressured, which is important to avoid. However, the children involved in the sandpit activities expectations and achievements have been reached without putting pressure on them. All children that were involved worked at their own speed.
The children were able to work together and respecting each other’s work. The children also explored the materials and tools and figured out by themselves what they could do with them. I feel it is important not to put the children under pressure so they are achieving what you want them to as it maybe too early for some children’s developmental rate, let them work at their own pace so they will achieve what they are able when they are able. However, as I was planning all seven activities based on the children’s age and had used their learning journals, previous observations and evaluations and previous planning sheets and evaluations I was sure that all the children would enjoy any one of the activities and be able to do it at their own pace to get the most out of it developmentally.