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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Learning with Light

Our overhead projector has been an exciting addition to the school, 
and we have been enjoying finding unique ways to use it in play and learning.

One afternoon these boys enjoyed projecting their names onto the curtain.
It was wonderful watching as they decided to use the alphabet puzzle they were playing with, and put it on the projector to see what would happen.  To their delight they saw the letters become "huge" shapes on the curtain.  They also discovered they would need more letters, so they went into the magnet board area and gathered the magnet letters.  I assisted when they asked what letters they needed for their names, but they arranged and worked at it until it was right.
I love watching the children engage in learning with excitement and joy.  I do not have a literacy curriculum.  Some may not agree with this approach for preschoolers, but I feel that pushing literacy too soon, too fast, can actual hinder the cognitive process.  However, when a child shows a natural inclination to explore letters and words, I am delighted to help engage their natural curiosity and desire to learn.  What I have noticed with this approach is that they have a love of learning, and it is something pleasurable and taught through play and exploration, and the knowledge stays with them.

We also use our overhead projector to do story time.
Peter Pauper Press makes these wonderful "Shadow Books" which are usually used with a flashlight to shine the images on the bedroom wall, but I love using them on the projector.  It is such a fun, unique way to see the images of a book.

I love this picture of the skunk, because if you look at the image below you can see the children
holding their noses while looking at the picture.

We have also been using the overhead projector in different areas of the school.
Below are pictures of the children projecting shapes onto the white board at our writing station.

Once the images were projected, they began tracing the shapes on the white board.

Letters made their way into the writing station as well.

Later, one of the children asked what would happen if we projected it on the chalk board wall.

She began taking a wet paint brush and painting over the shadows projected 
on the chalk board.
I love the different ways the children look at things, some trace around an object and 
some look at the shapes and decide to fill in the negative space.  Each in their way are 
exploring different ways to look at objects of the world and get to know them

While some used wet paint brushes, others used chalk to color in the shapes.
We now regularly have the projector set up in the writing station and rotate between having images projected on the white board and the chalk board wall.  This learning with light has been a wonderful gift to the school.
One last thought, this spider was projected on the wall and initially all the children ran out of kitchen, then came back for more fun, but spiders all of a sudden became the topic of conversation that morning.  It is incredible how one little action, such as projecting a spider, can excite all the children into discussion, play, and engagement.  Later that spider and all the spiders we could find in the school made their way into our play dough as well. 


  1. Hi, I just wanted to share that you have such creative, engaging ideas! I have learned something new that I would love to apply to my room of toddlers in every post. I have a question...where did you get your small acrylic mirrors that the children used to carry outside with them? Also, I like your small yellow trays and I am wondering where to find something like this.
    Thanks for sharing your creativity!

    1. Hi Lydia I am so happy you like the blog, it is my connection to the world since the preschool is in my home, so I love your feedback. The small acrylic mirrors I purchased from Discount School Supply. I think they were around $20.00 for 6 mirrors. The yellow plastic trays I purchased from United Art and Education, and I think the were around $2.00 each. Both have websites if you google the name. I love both products, but the mirrors scratch easily, just a little FYI. Thanks for visiting!

  2. So many creative OHP ideas. Pinned a bunch.