Young children are naturally inquisitive about the world around them—what they can see, touch, smell, taste, and hear. Fostering that innate curiosity through project work, we provide children a variety of tools to develop and represent their growing knowledge. Recently, we were able to utilize some new technology to augment these tools and project work.
At a tech-focused professional development session at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, we learned about Duke School's newly acquired Glowforge 3D laser printer, along with some ways it might support student learning. That session sparked an idea for us and led to some brainstorming and design-thinking with Innovation Director, Katie Ree, and Technology and Innovation Specialist, Dan Divis— centered on designing and creating a sturdy laser-cut doll of each child in our class. After a few iterations, we came up with these awesome storytelling figures!
The children used the figures, along with small loose parts and dollhouse miniatures, to create stories about our project topics. The storytelling materials were quite popular throughout our projects, with children choosing to work with them daily, both individually and in small groups. The storytelling work supported children's oral language and literacy development, inspired creativity, and enabled them to create meaning and effectively communicate their learning.
By Maureen Dwyer & Miriam Ornstein, Duke School Preschool Teachers