Early Childhood Education and Trades: A Unique—and Tactile—Applied Research Collaboration

Research Area: Social Innovation and Trades | Status:  Complete | Led By: Student-led

The Challenge

ECE & TradesSensory play is all about creating safe and fun activities that stimulate children’s senses and help them learn how to respond to different types of sensory information. This kind of exploration is critical to child development through examining, discovering, categorizing, and making sense of the world around them. It helps develop motor, attention, and language skills and supports general well-being. In 2019, a local elementary school approached the Early Childhood Education and Carpentry programs at NBCC Woodstock for help incorporating more sensory play into their school.

The Solution

Early Childhood Education students got to work brainstorming ideas that would encourage sensory play. Then, with sketches and blueprints in hand, they joined forces with students from the Carpentry program to bring these ideas to life. Together, they tested a wide range of tactile materials, from steel to turf and everything in between. The result? A 16-foot-long sensory wall in the shape of a caterpillar, as well as a fidget board complete with knobs and switches. Both now hang in the “Wiggle Hall” at Meduxnekeag Consolidated School.

About the Collaboration

This cross-disciplinary applied research project allowed students to collaborate and apply their competencies to create learning tools that will have a lasting impact in their community. Working together helped them learn skills beyond their program curriculums, including negotiation, effective communication, and decision-making. All the students walked away from this project with a better understanding of what it’s like to work closely with others who have different skill sets, interests, and perspectives—a lesson that is important for both their work and personal lives.

These projects helped showed me how creative you can be with carpentry. I was able to work independently and collaboratively by planning, manufacturing, and building to bring my ideas to life. It’s thrilling to know the play equipment will be used to its fullest potential and completely loved by our community!

Megan Wortman, NBCC Carpentry student


About Applied Research and Innovation
NBCC’s Applied Research and Innovation office helps businesses and communities find solutions to their challenges. Through its expertise, equipment, and facilities, NBCC helps its partners to solve problems, take advantage of market opportunities, and develop new, innovative processes that will enhance how New Brunswickers live, work and do business.