Heuristic Play: What does this mean?
Some of you might or might not remember this!
When you were a child, did you:
- collect twigs, bottle tops, shells, jar lids, feathers, leaves, fir cones etc
- make perfume using flower petals
- dig using twigs, card etc
- make sounds using metal containers, bottles with water in them, fill containers with stones etc
You get the picture, right?
These are just a variety of things I did as a child, way back when we used to play outside and not worry about the traffic etc This is still practiced today in nurseries/schools following the Montessori concept.
Italian born Maria Montessori introduced the concept of learning in this way. Not rocket science, you might think! However, the Montessori concept was introduced at the beginning of the century and is now practiced throughout the UK and the world. It is recognised as being beneficial to learning, particularly early learning.
The Montessori concept enables children to lead their own learning through heuristic play, exploring and discovery of the world around them and the natural resources available.
‘Heuristic play consists of offering children, a large number of different kinds of object and containers for a period of time, which they can play with freely, without adult intervention.’
Who would feel comfortable giving their baby shells, wood, metal, chain, wool, cork etc? It might sound a little scary to say the least, but the benefits far out way any risk. Baby is supervised closely when they are small, which removes any risk. The great thing about heuristic play is that baby can discover how things work, change, by manipulating, trying, testing, using in different ways, adding to, using together, finding out about each individual item and what it means to them. At this stage they don’t need the language or words. they don’t need you to explain. in fact the best way is to let baby investigate for themselves. As a parent/carer your role is to supervise, observe and do not disturb their thought process. They will let you know when they want more information by holding up an item to show you. This is your queue to name, the item and/or sound, feel, look, taste etc.
Treasure Baskets are a brilliant way of presenting heuristic play. A good quality basket that does not tip when lent on is best. Suggested content can be found http://bit.ly/2vuwwmk