One thing that really struck me was the care and thought that went into setting up the environment each day in such a way as to draw the children to it. They call these provocations. The way I describe the provocation set-up is providing enough materials to set a foundation for discovery, but open-ended enough not to dictate a specific result or product. After returning to my preschool I began setting up my own provocations to entice the children to check out the materials and get those creative juices flowing. These are some of the provocations I have set up in my classroom.
Note: These are ideas and suggested materials. Children are always able and encouraged to pull additional materials from the classroom into their creativity.
The provocation is always aesthetically pleasing and often incorporates natural materials such as baskets, wooden materials, flowers, etc.
A variety of skin tone paper dolls were available with a variety
of pants, shirts, and dresses. Also available were glue, crayons,
and a variety of hair color choices (pictured below).
Provocations for the Science Area encourage children
to come over, touch things, look closely, and just check
it out for themselves. This included a clock with a
different bird call each hour, bird nest, magnifying glass,
owl puppet, guide books, and posters.
This part of the Science area included a sound machine with a
variety of bird calls, a print, bird houses, a variety of bird feathers,
bird images, and a tiny nest.
A variety of materials available in complimentary colors:
colored yarn, pompom balls, colored popsicle sticks,
tape, glue, blue and orange paper.
Our Dramatic Play area was a restaurant:
plaid tablecloth with clear plastic cover, square wooden plates,
wooden/velcro pizza set, wooden bowls with red (tomato) and
green (lettuce) foam cubes, cups, and napkins.
This was the art setup during our first mini-day of school.
Each child was encouraged to create a masterpiece:
small cardboard box/bases, ribbons, paint-chip samples,
packing peanuts, mini tiles, tape, glue.
Art Area: Still Life Art
Sunflowers, art paper matted on brown and green papers,
paint colors in flowers: green, brown, and yellow and clear
bowls of water for brush rinsing.
On this day I had different sunflowers that didn't have the brown centers. Art paper matted on brown paper, but this time only yellow and green paint. The kids quickly noticed that the flowers didn't have brown centers and that there were only two colors of paint. Keen observers!!
Try out provocations and see if you notice a difference in your little ones' interest level.