MTA shares 2021 ‘greatest hits’ in most popular resource showcase
When it comes to resources for early childhood education and care (ECEC), there are few who are more qualified than the team at Modern Teaching Aids (MTA) to comment on what’s trending and popular in services across the country.
In 2021, as with every year, the MTA team worked with thousands of new and established services to make sure that children were engaged in play and free to explore in safe, engaging and creative learning environments.
As the year comes to a close, the team has looked back on 2021, sharing some of the most popular resources of the year, with the hopes of inspiring educators and approved providers to plan ahead for a 2022 filled with laughter, learning and opportunities to grow and play.
First up is the delightful Max & Rosie Low Feeding Chair, a versatile and modern high chair that offers comfort and flexibility, making meal times interactive for infants and toddlers while protecting educator backs.
Low feeding chairs ensure that babies feel a sense of belonging during mealtimes, providing children with a safe and comfortable chair at the same eye level of their fellow classmates, which is great for social interaction and learning from one another in a group learning environment.
Many services, particularly in the eastern states, are embracing outdoor learning as the weather warms and children return to onsite learning following extended periods of home based learning throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As children move outside to learn, services are responding with unique and tailored resources which are perfect for Australia’s sometimes harsh elements.
The Hex Tray and Stand for example is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and features UV stable plastic which is fade resistant, offering the perfect setting for small world play, messy creative experiences, and sensory exploration, allowing six children to engage in a small group experience on a table top, or anywhere with the use of the accompanying height adjustable stand.
Despite its name, the MTA Spaces Outdoor Play House is also suitable for indoor or outdoor play spaces, and is the perfect place for open ended inspiration for educators and children alike. The large playhouse features a wooden floor and a pitched roof, while the open, yet protected sides and back create an intimate play space for young children whilst also allowing for easy visual supervision. Children can use the playhouse as a stage, a shop, a hospital or a quiet reading nook. Educators may try adding cushions and a rug or mat to create a comfortable space, decorating the space with role play resources for dramatic play, or bringing in blocks for an excellent construction site.
Rounding out the outdoor play space resources are these colourful and bright Weplay Connecta-Mat Exercise Mats. Designed for use in play or as a safety mat, these are constructed from PE foam encapsulated within an easy clean polyester cover and come in a variety of colours.
For services where children enjoy creating prolific works of art, the Creatistics Junior Eiffel Art Easel is the perfect addition to any studio space. Made from oak (hardwood the easel includes two extra large 60 x 80cm clear perspex boards with 2 clips to fit all sizes of paper and can be used in both portrait or landscape mode.
The top of the board of the junior easel is height adjustable in portrait from 115cm to 129cm and in landscape from 95cm to 129cm. It comes with a silver paint clip on the top and side of the board to allow the child to paint or draw in portrait or landscape.
Accompanying the easel is the Spring Loaded Drying Rack which has 25 shelves that fit A3 paper, leaving lots of scope for drying works of wonder. Each shelf has a wire grid to let air get to the paintings for a quick drying time. The drying rack comes supplied with castors to stop it from moving around when adding paintings in.
Making STEM magic
Resources to support children with their numerical development are always in high demand in quality early learning services, and the Natural Maths Sorting & Counting Kit is no exception. Services across Australia have flocked to this resource in 2021, likely for the combination of natural resources and key mathematical concepts in a set which is aesthetically pleasing to boot.
The kit assists children to develop core numeracy skills such as sorting, counting, classifying, comparing, sequencing, patterning and others, and contains a wooden ten frame tray, a natural sorting tray, wooden beads, sea shells, oval branch cuts, round branch cuts, thick twigs, twig chips, and plain beads.
In the science space, these Jumbo Magnifiers, which come as a set of six with a custom stand, are the ideal tool for helping children to take a closer look at critters, rocks, fabric and more. Each magnifier has a plastic lens making these a super safe tool which allows children to see objects at more than 4.5 times magnification.
For all young children, but particularly for children with additional needs, resources which delight and engage all five senses are a vital part of an engaging and effective learning environment. That being the case, it’s no surprise that sensory resources feature among the most popular ECEC purchases in 2021.
This construction set of 96 Translucent Magnetic Tiles gives children the opportunity to explore construction, design, shapes and colours in an imaginative and hands-on way. The tiles connect easily along the magnetic edges and can be used to make both 2D and 3D shapes, with the set containing 6 x large squares (15cm x 15cm), 42 x small squares, 12 x isosceles triangles, 12 x right angle triangles and 24 x equilateral triangles.
Finally, these See-Through Sensory Balls – Set of 6 are suitable for children aged three years and up, and are filled with different objects to offer appeal to all senses; colour, weights, sounds, shapes and sizes—from fun floating feathers to bouncing beads. The balls will help children to develop their gross motor ball skills, by rolling, throwing, bouncing and catching.
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