Bright lights and shadow hands

TulipTreeElm House Blog, tuliptreeLeave a Comment

by Mage

Today the children of the Nest cohort visited the basement for morning explore time, and they conducted their first experiments with the light projector.

Before I turned on the projector, I set it on the ground and plugged it into the wall, giving the children some time to notice the projector and react to what they saw. After spending some moments examining the projector, the children began to drift away. I turned the light on, and the children were drawn back in.

I saw faces staring down into the light panel, and looking up into and around the head of the projector. I saw hands tapping the panel. I saw eyes looking both focused and dreamy, relaxed faces and open mouths. The children were mostly quiet, with some humming. The children appeared reverent and curious.

MC approached the projector from behind (positioned so that she could see the projection on the wall). She looked down at the projector, touching it. She looked up at the wall. There was an enormous shadowy hand print on the wall. She got up and walked over to the wall, pointing at the hand. She turned around and looked at the projector, turned back and pointed at the wall again. I think she was communicating about the connection that she’d made, about the relationship between the lights and shadow and the projector.

HB and BL followed shortly after. They both walked to the wall and interacted with the shadow hand. FBD continued to touch the panel, and she put balls and colorful transparent magnetiles onto it.

I’ve used a light projector with dozens of children over many years. I prefer to let the children discover the projections on their own. Sometimes it takes weeks before the children notice that light is projected onto the wall. Sometimes it happens almost instantly. Do any of these children have previous experience with light projectors? I don’t know. I still feel that I have so much to learn about how children perceive light and shadow. I am intrigued by our first experiment with the projector this year, and excited to see where we can take the learning together.


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