Thinking outside the box
When confronted with the unpredictable world, we need people with the ability to problem-solve, to be creative, and think differently. These skills are shaped and nurtured from a very young age. No one appreciates this more than Lucy Lewin, owner of Little Angels in Uppingham. [Advertorial]
Recently recognised by Alicia Kearns MP as a ‘Hero of Rutland and Melton’ for her heroic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and helping the community. Lucy is a firm believer in the ‘Cardboard box theory’, which she applies to her nursery setting. Lucy says: “It is a very common understanding that children are more interested in the box than the gift that arrives in it - ever wondered why? As adults, we’ve learned that the box is the packaging, nothing more. But to a child the box is everything, it’s a blank canvas, limited only by their imagination and time.”
“That box, no matter how big or small it is, is the most amazing space ship, a car, a train, a hideout, a robot, a shop, a house...it is literally anything. The adventure begins within the child. They become absorbed in the idea, as their imagination flies, and their learning evolves.” In education circles, this is known as the growth mindset.
Lucy continues: “When the children are excited, they become like sponges for learning. They take on more and more information. They problem-solve, they take risks, they grow their minds as they test their knowledge.
Remember that feeling of pure excitement? - the one before life experiences hardened you to the awe and wonder around you? It is our role as educators in Early Years, to ensure that children’s innocence and passion for the world they live in stays at the core of every day.”
Many toys just have one purpose, a plastic car can only be a plastic car. But a few sticks, exciting bits and bobs, and cardboard boxes can be anything you want them to be.
Lucy says “At Little Angels our Cardboard Box Approach gives children resources - it is a toy free setting so that children can use their imaginations to explore the world.” Little Angels see their settings as an extension of home rather than a diluted version of a classroom, “after all children do well where they feel confident and secure, and the home is often that place.
Putting the children at the heart of our pedagogy, in the very essence of the planning of the physical environment, the sourcing of materials, resources, and equipment ensures that every child is excited to learn.”