Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education


2019-20 Conferences & Seminars

(including Reggio Study visits)

Community Login

Already subscribed? Then log-in here.

Not subscribed? See our options in 'Join'

The Secrets of Materials

Sightlines South East Network - Action Research Project
October 2014


Project Background
The idea for this project was born from a desire to create a context for educators with shared values for creative and reflective practice to engage in professional dialogue with one another - to create a researching, learning and work sharing context for dedicated educators from participating nurseries and schools from the South East of England.

The aims of this action research project are:
to develop the practice of reflection and exchange, both within our own settings and between settings
to strengthen relationships between professionals with shared values in the South East
to learn more about how we can support children's learning through use of open-ended materials

Thames Tiddlers Nursery 
Little Jungle Nursery
High House Nursery
Southwater Infants Academy
Little Barn Owls Nursery & Farm School

Project Timeline
1. 4th October Meeting
Key educators from the five participating settings will attend a creative workshop in preparation for the project, on Saturday 4th October 2014.

2. Gathering Materials
Back in their settings, educators will propose the idea of creating a materials 'pod' to the children they work with to give to another group of children. Over a four week period educators work with children to create a 'pod' of open ended materials that are in some way in relationship with each other for creative exploration and investigation. Please aim to have gathered your materials by the end of October.

3. Exchanging pods
We will arrange which settings will exchange with one another, and discuss the practicalities, at the 4th October meeting, and will aim to swap materials during the first week of November.

4. Working with the materials and children's ideas
Over the rest of the autumn and spring term the children and educators will have the opportunity to work with the materials in their settings, and the ideas which spring from these encounters. The educators can document children's encounters, enquiries and exchanges of and between children that the materials in the pods provoke, as well as the 'expressions' of creative work the children carry out (ie the things they make, do, test, imagine with and compose with the materials). This researching of children as they research both the materials and their creative competencies aims to reveal the 'secrets of the materials', hence the name of the project.
The ideas which come out of the work with the materials may lead on to deeper explorations of new ideas and proposals in the groups.

5. Sharing our learning and the children's learning: during and after the project
We look forward to sharing our learning and the children's learning with one another and more widely as the project continues...


The following section  is available for our subscribers: log in first to read. If you aren't a subscriber, click here to subscribe to a subscription plan to read article details.