Materials for Touch

Smooth and Rough Boards

The tactile sense is used, especially by very young children to establish contact with the world, when the child enters the Children’s Hose the tactile sense is waining, becoming less urgent so it is important to establish contact between the child and the material early on.  The fingertips are vital receptors and with sensitisation, practicing applying minimum weight while omitting the visual sense they become eve more effective.

There are four boards to encourage the child to explore the sense further, refining it to a greater degree and refining the movements needed to trace the geometric shapes and concentration.  Before these are used the child sensitises her hands by making them warm and soft and becomes emotionally calm and connected to tactile impressions by the ‘Sensitising of the Fingertips’.

Material Description:

Four rectangular boards:

  1. Board divided into two equal squares, one square, to the left, covered with very rough sandpaper, the other square, to the right, covered with very smooth paper (or polished wood)
  2. Board divided into ten narrow partitions, alternatively very smooth and very rough, the rough sections being the same grade of sandpaper as Board 1
  3. Board divided into five partitions, the first one from very rough (the same grade  as the rough section as Board 1) to nearly smooth in gradations of roughness
  4. Board divided into five partitions, from very smooth (the same as the smooth section of Board 1) to nearly rough in gradations of smoothness

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The materials to sensitise the fingers below and ten to twelve clean, soft and attractive blindfolds of various sizes in a basket or dark sunglasses

Sensitising of the Fingertips (Bathing of the fingertips)

Before using the rough and smooth boards sensitise the fingertips by dipping the first phalanges into warm water and dry them by rubbing them briskly on a rough towel, so stimulate blood flow and thereby sensitivity, bring conscious awareness to the sensations in the fingertips and calm the mind by self massage.  It is a physical and psychological preparation.

Material Description:

In a tray have a small teapot three-quarters filled with hot water, with a tea cosy, a jug with cold water, an attractive finger bowl and saucer, a drying cloth and a rough towel 15cm2. Alternatively use a thermos of warm water or wet sponges

Presentation:

  • Invite the child to begin and show her the boards, then say, “Not yet, we have to do something special first” to create suspense.
  • Let the child take the tray with the jug, teapot and materials listed above to the chowki, set down and sit comfortably
  • The child can pour cold water from the jug into the finger-bowl and add a little hot water from the teapot, she checks to see that it is sufficiently warm
  • Show the child how to dip the first phalanges into the water and let her continue for as long as she wants
  • Let her dry her fingertips on the rough towel
  • Show her how to massage her fingertips by demonstrating wrapping the towel around your right middle and index fingers and rubbing them vigorously until they feel warm and are tingling
  • Let the child copy
  • Clean the tray with the drying cloth and replace it, pour away the used water from the finger-bowl and add more hot water to the teapot if necessary, replace the tray.

How to hold:

Board 1, show the board to the child and hold with the rough side to the left, carry it with the thumb and fingers pinching it at both sides to have an immediate visceral sensation in the thumb of the different textures.

Display

The Boards should be in order, with Board 1 at the front, oriented ready to be held.

Presentation:

  • Board 1, the Rough half first
  • With the board on the chowki, hold the right hand flat, elbows unsupported.  Place the fingertips at the top left corner of the board
  • Trace floatingly over the surface while maintaining constant contact in a downward motion until the middle finger reaches the base, when the finger has almost left the board say, “rough”, with an onomatopoeic quality in the voice
  • Repeat with the smooth side, saying, “smooth”, with a quality of smoothness in the voice
  • Pause and repeat a few times, looking away from the board, towards the child
  • Let the child repeat
  • The second time the child does it say, “Do it lightly”
  • Later, suggest that she tries with her eyes gently closed
  • To refine,

Make the following suggestions as challenges to genuine difficulties which arise, asking for the child’s permission

  • Hold her palm, taking it’s weight and repeat, saying, “Do it lightly”
  • Trace your fingertips over the child’s palm and back of hand saying, “ticklish”
  • When the child struggles to keep her eyes closed suggest she uses a blindfold, first put it on yourself, with Analysis of Movement, then invite her, if she says, “No” leave it with her as she ay try later
  • Encourage her by saying, “doing this will help you to feel better, you will recognise without seeing”
  • Invite the child to continue, let her know that you will leave before going if she is wearing the blindfold
  • Later show her the smooth side of Board 1 in the same way

Note The child focuses further on the tactile and kinaesthetic senses with the blindfold, using it is becomes more aware of the impressions and begins to mentally gauge the necessary distance from the base of the board to place her hand on the top of the board and to the right, this strengthens her muscles and judgement of left-right horizontal and vertical movements in both directions, this is a preparation for writing.  Her abilities are enhanced as she practices with all four boards.

  • Board 2
  • The child uses the same movements as for the rough and smooth boards, only this time she uses two fingers, leaving the others stretched out in front, not bent towards the palm or in contact with the material
  • Encourage the child to use the blindfold and apply the fingertips, ‘Even more lightly”
  • Board 3
  • No demonstration is necessary, the Board 1 prepare for this, here the child adjusts her horizontal movements to fit the width of the strips.
  • The kinaesthetic sense will learn to apply the gross movements more delicately,
  • Once the kinaesthetic sense co-ordinates a movement for the hand it ca apply the same movement with other muscles throughout the body, so the ability to write with the hand can be applied by the foot or mouth
  • The textures here have very fine differences, only with very light tracing will the gradations be apparent
  • Board 4
  • The child traces as for Board 3, concentrating on the five degree of smoothness

Exercises:

  • To complete each board with the eyes closed
  • Corresponding exercises, these two exercises can be played with any grading materials.  Ask the child to put the pieces in order and then close her eyes
  • Put one piece out of order and ask her to return it to it’s place
  • Remove one piece and hide it, put the pieces together, ask her to point to the place where the missing piece should go.

Language:

None

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • There is no control of error in the material, the strips of sandpaper guide the child’s hands.

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child acquire a ‘lightness of touch’
  • To further refine the tactile sense
  • To develop muscular control through the ‘lightness of touch’

Indirect Aim:

  • Indirect preparation for writing
  • developing the ‘lightness of touch’ helps the child prepare to move the writing instrument over the writing surface
  • acquiring the capacity to lift the fingers vertically will help to place the writing instrument
  • To acquire the capacity to move from left to right leaving even spacing

Age at Presentation:

The fist board is presented as early as possible (after the child has experience with the cylinder blocks), the urge to touch is irresistible at this point but will diminish later.

Touch Tablets

Note:

Before beginning the exercise fingers should be sensitised, the eyes are closed or blindfolded during the activity

Material Description:

A box containing five pairs of tablets of varying grades of sandpaper.  There are two of each grade.  If possible, the colour of the surface of each pair should differ somewhat from that of the other pairs, or the pairs can be marked on the back with coloured dots.

Presentation:

  • Pairing
  • Bring the material to the table
  • Begin with contrasting tablets to make the difference clear
  • Take the roughest tablet from the box, feeling the tablet and passing it to the child
  • Remove it’s pair
  • Take the smoothest tablets from the box doing the same
  • Remove all the other tablets in the same manner, placing them at random
  • With eyes closed isolate one tablet and feel the other tablets to find the match
  • When a pair have been found place them on one side
  • Isolate another tablet and match in the same way
  • Continue until all the tablets have been matched
  • Remove the blindfold and check the shade and grain of the sandpaper to see if an error has been made

Exercises:

  • Exercise 1, Pairing: Invite the child to complete the exercise above
  • Exercise 2, Grading:
  • Bring the materials to the table, remove one of each pair of tablet and place it at random
  • Use the blindfold or close the eyes
  • Find the roughest tablet and place it to one side, from the remaining ones find the next roughest tablet and place it adjacent to the isolated one, feel both to check
  • Invite the child to feel both to compare
  • Continue finding the next roughest until the sequence is complete, checking after each selection
  • Leave the sequence, remove the blindfold or open the eyes and check visually
  • Remove the remaining tablets and place at random
  • Invite the child to grade these tablets, using the completed sequence as a control
  • Exercise 3, Sorting and grading: Invite the child to complete the exercise above using all the tablets, sorting them into pairs and grading them

Language:

To be covered in the three-part lesson, when the child can discriminate the different gradations without hesitation and before the games.

  • “Rough”-“Smooth” comparatives and superlatives

Criteria of Perfection (Control of error):

  • In the material itself, through the different grain and colour

Direct Aim:

  • Refinement of the tactile sense
  • To discern the fine distinction between grades of rough and smooth (aided by the blindfold)

Indirect Aim:

  • Indirect preparation for writing
  • developing the ‘lightness of touch’ helps the child prepare to move the writing instrument over the writing surface
  • acquiring the capacity to lift the fingers vertically will help to place the writing instrument
  • To acquire the capacity to move from left to right leaving even spacing

Age at Presentation:

Three and a half years

Games (Further Exercises):

  • Memory exercise, two mats game
  • Place one tablet from each pair on a mat at one end of the room and the other pair on a mat at the other end of the room.
  • The child feels one tablet, leaves it, and goes to the other mat to find it’s pair, she chooses one tablet and brings it back to the original tablet to check
  • Game 2

Show the child one tablet and ask the child to bring ‘one that is rougher’ or ‘one that is smoother’

Fabrics

Material Description:

Blindfold and a basket or box of eight to ten pairs of hemmed or pinked clean, pressed fabrics, each measuring five to six cm2

Box 1 fabrics differing greatly in texture and colour, made from natural fabrics; silk, wool, gauze, loin cloth, linen, muslin, jute, velvet, poplin, satin

Box 2 fabrics which are variations of the same type, for instance rougher to more finely woven linens in similar shades

The fabrics should be changed at regular intervals to reignite interest and offer a greater variety.

Presentation:

  • Sensitise hands before working with the materials
  • Bring the prepared Box 1 to the table
  • Remove the three most contrasting fabrics, place the pairs in a pile separately
  • Close eyes and feel one fabric, pass it to the child to touch with her eyes closed
  • Do the same with the other two fabrics
  • In turn pair the fabrics with the eyes still closed, when a pair is found pass it to the child to feel and put to one side
  • When the three pairs have been matched mix up the pairs and invite the child to match using the blindfold
  • On subsequent occasions add more pairs from Box 1
  • Present Box 2 as Box 1

Exercises:

  • Exercise 1
  • Encourage the child to use the blindfold and feel all the fabrics from Box 1
  • Exercise 2
  • As above but with Box 2

Language:

To be covered in the three-part lesson, when the child can discriminate the different gradations without hesitation.

Give all the names used to describe the fabrics

Criteria of Perfection (Control of error):

  • In the material itself, through the different texture, design and colour

Direct Aim:

  • Further refinement of the tactile sense

Age at Presentation:

Three and a half years

Comments

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