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Let's Try Pattern Play - for developing visual literacy! ❤️

Pattern play at How we Montessori (3)

As part of my studies, I recently read The 21st Century School Library: A Model for Innovative Teaching and Learning. It's an excellent book that considers different literacies including textural literacy, visual literacy, information literacy, digital literacy, technological literacy and racial literacy. The author covers some of the ways he teaches these literacies in a school library setting. 

While I consider these literacies in my studies I also consider these literacies at home with my children. The author writes one way he addresses visual literacy is by setting up a Pattern Play station in the school library.

"Pattern Play. This station is centered around a puzzle created by the company MindWare. Students work individually or in small groups (three students is a good maximum) to piece together the puzzle, which consists of 40 wooden blocks in various colours. It comes with 40 pattern cards that students must work to reproduce using pieces of the puzzle. They choose a single pattern card to focus on for their time at this station. This has been a great way to teach visual literacy, specifically how to use color and shapes and how to create symmetry. Students have a real sense of accomplishment after they finish creating their selected pattern." - Ryan Bani Tahmaseb in The 21st Century School Library: A Model for Innovative Teaching and Learning.

We have Pattern Play at home but we hadn't played it for ages. It is a truly fantastic game, once my children start they become addicted. It is recommended for 3yrs+ but my children didn't engaged with it independently until 4yrs. 

The children simply choose a pattern card from the pile and then arrange the blocks to match the pattern. It's not as easy as it sounds as the blocks can be used in any configuration/direction. Some cards look impossible but you have to think out of the box and keep on turning and rotating the blocks until you find a way.

Pattern play at How we Montessori (3)

At four years (almost five) Otto was able to do this pattern independently. 

Pattern play at How we Montessori (3)

Naturally, some patterns are harder than others. I find Pattern Play is good for children to use in pairs and children of different ages can use it together.

Pattern play at How we Montessori (3)

You can find Pattern Play here in the US, also at Montessori Services, and here in the UK. Our Pattern Play is from the UK and I cannot find a current source in Australia, if you are travelling to the US or have friends there, this is worth ordering. Have a look for Pattern Play in your local toy library, or request it if they don't have it! 

It's a long-term family game that can be used by multiple age groups at the same time - it's great for older people too my Mum loves playing it with the kids!

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