RICHLAND ACADEMY

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‘Beyond the Wall’ – Supporting Fellow Educators ​

This year, as a whole school, we will be discovering the power of learning collaboratively from many perspectives, through the examination of ‘Materials’. Worksheets and workbooks have been the entrenched and traditional way of learning in most schools: a one dimensional approach, which is often developmentally inappropriate, and which does not suit the learning styles of all children. Using materials enables children to engage all their senses, and strengthens the hand mind connections.  Research tells us that “Movement and cognition are powerfully connected.” Integrating and weaving a tapestry of curriculum connections is paramount to our intentional and purposeful use of materials within our learning environment.

Our revisit of our question posed to the children, “What do you know about materials?” brought forth some further and ‘new knowledge’ today.

  • “Sometimes materials are strong. Sometimes they are delicate.”
  • “We have to be careful and protect and care for our materials.”
  • “One side of materials can be different from another side.”
  • “Materials are like magic…like glitter!”
  • “Materials can be lots of different things. Like materials that grow, that you find, that you collect.”
As a teacher, it is always a pleasure to listen to and watch children work with an endless palette of materials. They continue to be absorbed and actively involved. They focus intently on problems, and they respond eagerly to intriguing and thought provoking questions. Materials provide concrete models from which children gain real understanding of abstract ideas. Children’s learning with rich materials is testimony of the claim of the ancient Chinese proverb that shares: “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”
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