Phenomenological approaches and approaches of Gestalt psychology have long focussed materiality within teaching and learning with and from children. Ch. Bühler states in heris phenomenological-psychoanalytic study on the development of children: “The prompting character generates the object altogether, since the child sets direction since it sets direction” (Bühler 1967). The football, rolling across the street, the stairs challegingprompting us to be climbed, the crumb tempting us to be picked up, the building block inviting us to play. The prompting and challeging character of things and the intentions of the person acting are related to each other in “complicity” (Meyer-Drawe). Claus Stieve shows in his older, highly readable study that things not only bear a prompting character but a “demanding” character as well:
“Like putting on a slipper or the now unfamiliar winding up of clockwork, many things demand a necessary, appropriate conduct, be it a corkscrew, the mobile phone, the car, the washing machine, the shirt with its buttons or the bottle for the infant” (ibid. p. 176).
The demanding character of things shows that their significance to us only reveals itself in the context of the concrete situation. As part of the Gestalt-like context they point to something beyond themselves as well.
See the following site for an interview with the author and a reference to his study (in German):