Scaffolding on the Beach

by Kate Pavey, Kindermusik educator


Scaffolding is something we often engage in during an Our Time class. The children are encouraged to explore an object or an instrument in their own way in whatever way they feel best. The parent or caregiver watches the child – and for the most part, imitates the child – while carefully introducing new elements and levels (like scaffolds) which the child can choose to explore.  

Entering the world of a child in this way can become totally absorbing and strangely relaxing. As we engage in this play with our children, we too begin to play and explore – perhaps suggesting new ways to play together, but never dictating that there is a right or wrong way to do something. 

During our recent family holiday to Devon, my son Isaac and I were on the beach playing on the body board in the waves. After a few tumbles head first into very salty water, Isaac headed off to play in the wet sand. He engrossed himself in construction work, building up mounds of sand and rock into structures to see if they could withstand the quickly approaching sea making its way up the beach. At first I was frustrated; we had come to play in the waves and I wanted him to come and join me.  

In that moment, I thought about the way we encourage play in class. I went over, instead, and started to build alongside Isaac. Within moments I had become absorbed into his world. Focusing on a single simple activity with no agenda is so relaxing. Together we built bigger and better structures, running up and down the beach to collect rocks. We laughed heartily when the waves smashed into them and sent them flying and we had the most amazing fun. 

I learnt how important it is for our children's self esteem to be enthusiastically involved with their projects, however small, and for us to find again our lust for the simple things in life that we wondered at as children. 


GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: Kate Pavey, licensed Kindermusik educator since 2001, runs Musikate, a program in Colchester Essex UK.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *