Culture and Cardboard Boxes

Written by Alana Jolley

November 27, 2012

What do cardboard boxes have to do with culture?  A day probably does not go by without encountering a cardboard box in some form or another, whether it be a shoebox, a simple package received in the mail, or some kind of food container.

Cardboard boxes are part of modern culture.  Possibly with these thoughts in mind, a pre-school teacher, with an innovative idea, focused on cardboard boxes as a learning tool.

Collection of Cardboard Boxes

Collection of Cardboard Boxes

The teacher took all the toys and learning materials from his classroom and replaced them with various sizes of cardboard boxes.

His reasoning was that a toy, such as a toy telephone would always function as a toy telephone and did not give the children any room for imagination.  After all there isn’t much cultural creativity using a toy telephone.  What can you do with a toy telephone except pretend to talk on it?

The teacher wanted his young students to use their imaginations because he understood that toys already have preconceived uses.  Technology is something to learn and utilize, but with the cardboard boxes in their toy box instead of toys, the children began to get very creative without much technology.  Some formed a rocket ship, others built a hotel, and still others collaborated to build a mock kitchen.

The preschoolers had to make decisions; they had to agree or disagree with their peers; they had to find solutions to the problems encountered in the construction of their ideas; they learned that things don’t always turn out how you think they might; they learned that sometimes in real life there is failure; and also in real life there is usually more than one way to get the job done.

Since culture is everyday life, these students are learning basic skills needed in everyday life.  They are learning cultural skills while they forge creative ideas and come up with innovative solutions.

The teacher agreed that the boxes would not be a permanent replacement for toys and other learning materials in the classroom, but temporarily by using already acquired knowledge and skills, the children are participating in the highest levels of learning.

To see the video of the teacher with his class and read the full article, click on the green link below.

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