Mary Jo Winter
Having a take-apart station in an early childhood program allows children to learn many new skills. In the area of language, the children learn to expand their receptive vocabulary by hearing new words in context on a regular basis (safety goggles, safety gloves, etc.). In the area of science, the children learn to choose specific tools for tasks by having carefully supervised access to tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches. By having access to such tools, the children also learn to develop their fine motor skills. The take-apart station also allows children to strengthen their relationships and use negotiation/conflict-resolution skills, as they take turns sharing materials in the classroom and play cooperatively while there.
- Start small. Introduce the station to the children and allow them to ask questions.
- Safety first. Make sure the children have protective equipment in place, such as safety goggles and gloves.
- Be choosy about what the children take-apart. We only allow materials that have no glass, no cords, and no sharp pieces such as keyboards, typewriters, and computer towers.
- Explain the proper usage of tools. A screwdriver is for removing screws, a hammer is used for pounding things, etc.
- Have fun! This is truly a station that the children enjoy exploring!