The developmental theme for this week is Scaffolding. Instead of bombarding you with descriptions, I thought you might like to see some examples of things that could be said during each of the phases of the scaffolding process. Sometimes, you will go through phases quickly, other times, the child’s interest will indicate that more time needs to be spent in this area. Perhaps the most important message of all is to WATCH and follow your child’s lead.
Observation – just sit back and watch what your child is interested in, how they go about answering the questions “What is it?” and “What does it do?”
“You’ve chosen a yellow scarf. It is so smooth and silky against your skin.” (describe object) “Swish, swish, swish it goes in the air, zig zagging around in front of you.” (describe action) “I can make it swish in the air, too.” (Imitate if you have an extra).
Enhance – Build on the child’s interest (they like swishing the scarve in front of them)
“Where else can you swish it?” (open ended question – wait patiently for them to try something different.) “Oh, you can swish it high ! It’s fun to reach up so high !” (connecting to that positive emotion they are feeling.)
“Can you swish it behind your back?” (Without showing them how… watch to see how they do it. This challenges them to try something they might not have thought of themselves.) “Over your shoulder, around the back of your head? That’s a creative way to swish !” (Describe and validate their choices, and imitate.)
Continue asking open ended questions and making challenges for a short period of time, so you come up with a variety of ways to swish. Then put on some music and watch to see how many ways he swishes the scarf. “Oh, that was a great time in the music to swish up high, the notes went up high too.” (specific praise for the new action, and connecting to the musical cue.)
Another way to ENHANCE and SUPPORT is to make connections and build imaginative play
“It’s almost like a little bee darting around the garden.” (Making connections to something familiar.) Start making a buzzing sound that goes along with the scarf movements, even stop buzzing if the child stops swishing. (Still connecting, and adding vocal sound effects). Play with these ideas, and make other connections to things that swish, like windshield wipers, etc.) “What else can you think of that swishes back and forth like that? (open-ended question)
You may want to take the connections and pretend play a little farther with the preschoolers.
“Bees like to gather nectar from flowers to make honey. (information building) Why don’t we buzz over to a flower.” (imaginative play) “What do you see that we could pretend is a flower?” (building abstract thought – if they have a hard time, make the first choice, then ask again.) “Let’s buzz over to that flower and land so we can get some nectar.” (challenge new actions, tie into imaginative play.) “What else can be a flower?” (continue several times, then come to a conclusion) “Where is the beehive?….. “Your bed? Excellent, lets go deposit all our nectar and make some honey. Hmm, Yum, Yum !” During SUPPORT, try using “Flight of the Bumblebee” music.
Support – Offering opportunities to play with the ideas after exploring them, giving them the chance to try the ideas out without guidance or pressure.
Using music in the background for this part is excellent since it helps the brain hemispheres work together (logical and creative sides). Hint: It also makes it easier for us, as adults, to refrain from continue to verbally guide them. Leave a LOT of time without verbally intervening, but throw in a few brief descriptions, praises and open ended challenges here and there. “Up and Down like a bird – COOL!” “Try something new now.” “How can you make the scarf move like the music sounds?” “That’s a cool way to wear the scarf and dance with your hands free.”
The next time you pull out the scarves, see how many of the new ways are incorporated into their initial explorations. Then start all over.