By Catherine Ward
God in Crèche: helping children to enjoy being at church
Eleanor Goldschmiede is one of the most respected writers on providing play opportunities for the under threes. Her work has shaped much of modern nursery provision. Treasure baskets and Heuristic play are two fantastic ideas which, simple as they sound, are not to be underestimated. Treasure baskets are intended for babies who can sit up but are not yet crawling they are intended to contain everyday household things and natural objects made from wood, metal, cloth, leather, cork or rubber, but not plastic. Unlike plastic toys treasure basket items have different weights, smells and textures. Some feel cold to the touch, others make fascinating noises when they are dropped or shaken. Research into how babies learn has established that babies rely much more on touch, and smell than adults do to find out about their world. Babies have been observed to play, investigating treasure baskets for up to an hour. In my post on inviting awe and wonder I talk about seeing something of our creator God through natural materials like sand and water, pebbles and pine cones. The natural materials in the treasure basket clearly grasp babies’ attention.