We view clay as a fundamental material in our program. It is a pillar of our curriculum because it supports play, creative expression, critical thinking and collaboration. All of these are critical aspects of children’s development and learning.
Initially, children need time to discover the properties of the material. By using their fingers first, they might best discover characteristics of the clay such as malleability, texture, temperature, and the various transformations the clay experiences in response to the children’s efforts with it.
As a staff, we have observed children using their fingers to poke, pat, smooth, and pinch the clay. Beyond discovering the properties of clay, children are exploring the power of their fingers in relation to the clay. To support the potential for learning and creative expression through clay, we will increase the quantity of clay in the classroom, provide children daily access to this material, and maximize the blocks of time children have to use the clay each session.
To learn more about the benefits of clay for children’s development and learning, read the article Clay with Toddlers (Verdtzabella, 2010).