Light and color


When I first started the school I bought a lightbox and was so excited to introduce it to the children.  Well, I simply was not prepared well enough I think and was disappointed by their lack of interest.  I have learned so much in this past year about presentation…..presentation of materials really does make a world of difference.  I regularly visit thrift stores and now have a wonderful array of baskets wooden bowls and metal dishes, in all shapes and sizes.  I even found two perfect wooden sorting trays (but more of that in another post!).

I decided it was time to reintroduce the lightbox.  This time I carefully selected a few materials and presented them in the wooden sorting trays.  I offered color paddles, glass shapes and little plastic gems. The children have really been enjoying sorting and pattern making recently so I was curious to see how they would approach these materials.

The children were drawn to the area immediately.  I had positioned a wooden table into a darker corner of our space, with the lights around turned off.  This enhanced the glow of the lightbox.

“Oooh, it’s magic”, one child explained.

The glass shapes were more appealing to most of the children as the shapes were more abstract.  They became worms, hats, a rainbow and raindrops!  Interestingly most of the children preferred to use the plastic gems very differently.  These were more regular shapes, diamonds, hearts ovals etc.  It seemed that these regular shapes lent themselves to pattern making.  Some repetition of pattern occurred, but mostly the children seemed fascinated with lining them up and watching the light glow through.

Suddenly one of the children noticed the paddles, sitting in a wooden bowl beside the sorting trays.  Within seconds the children were exploring what it was like to look at the world through them.  I noticed that the younger children seemed to hold the paddle directly against the object or person they were looking at.  In this way the paddle influenced the color they saw in that small area.  That in itself was fascinating for them.

“your shirt is not pink now” one child realised, whilst holding up a green paddle against the pink shirt.

An older child quickly decided ,she preferred to hold the paddle to her eye,

“the world is blue” she squealed.

She then took this one step further and decided to see what would happen if she held a different color to her other eye and look through them at the same time.  She explained that it was just like looking through her “indoor glasses” – which are in fact the 3D glasses from a movie, with one red lens and one blue!

Soon the children were looking through the paddles.   Happily exploring what happens to the colored gems on the lightbox when observed through a color paddle.  Some preliminary discussion on color mixing occurred, which I expanded by asking prompt questions such as “I wonder what would happen if I looked at the green yellow gem through the blue paddle”.

These children are definitely motivated to explore color mixing further!


4 responses »

  1. Hello – I was so pleased to find your blog via Lesley at Takoma Park Nursery School. I run a preschool in my home for 3 to 5 year olds – we have 12 in the class and 16 enrolled altogether. I started in 2009 with 2 children and one of them was my own! I absolutely understand how you feel about being the one and only teacher. I really miss making connections with colleagues, and bouncing ideas around – being part of a community of teachers. I am from England too, so we have such a lot in common. The best of luck with your school, I will read your blog avidly. With love, Maria in Colorado &

  2. Super happy to have found your blog!! You are doing a beautiful job representing Reggio and we share the common idea that gathering the best ideas from the various educational models makes for the most interesting class. We are just beginning to try and implement Reggio in our ELC. I am excited to see more of your blog! I will share my ideas too as the year progresses. Thanks!
    Wendy in Savannah

    • Thanks Wendy for the positive feedback. It is so exciting to be hearing from other educators. I am looking forward to where this blog will lead us! Keep the comments coming…

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