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Whole Body Trajectory Learning

As educators we have been speaking and reflecting a lot about the trajectory schema in recent weeks and what this means for the children in Room 1. We first noticed this interest when the children discovered the balls and the long orange tube. They found enjoyment and satisfaction in rolling the balls through the tube. 

“An interest in trajectories is characterised by an ongoing fascination with things moving through space, both vertically and horizontally. It may be objects or the child’s own body” (Van Wijk, 2008). 

We have seen a shift over the past 2 weeks from exploring trajectory with objects, to exploring it with the children’s own bodies. This was made possible with the introduction of a wooden ramp in our outdoor space. First, the children chose to roll toy cars down the ramp, but then they started sliding down the ramp themselves. 

Jude climbed up the ramp before sliding down backwards, on his tummy.

Together Sophie and Oliver explored forward facing sliding – still on their tummies like Jude. They observed each other’s techniques and took turns to slide down, and soon Penelope approached. She observed Oliver and Sophie for quite sometime before exploring the ramp with her own body. 

Penelope crawled up the ramp and slid backwards on her tummy, using a technique almost identical to Jude’s. 

Edward was the first to slide down on his bottom, like children often do on slippery dips, and Edith adopted the technique of both Sophie and Oliver of sliding down on her tummy. She explored both forward and backward sliding. 

Jae explored two different sliding techniques – first on his tummy and second on his bottom!

Owen also prefers the sliding-on-your-bottom approach. 

When very young children use their bodies in this all encompassing way they explore through their bodies the concepts of force (physics) and weight and angles (mathematics), and develop their overall scientific and mathematical thinking. 

This is just the children’s first encounter with exploring trajectory with their bodies using a small incline in our space. We have plans to search for steeper, faster slopes in the big garden and in our community!