Here we are in week 10 and some children are still struggling to transition into play.
There are lots of reasons for this. Changes in the household come to mind; relatives visiting, a new baby or a sibling staying home from school are all things that can throw off the usual routine for your little one. Discomfort is another; clothing that is too tight, or too bulky or doesn’t stay on or even an unfinished breakfast.
As always the best thing we can do for our children is to stick to the usual drop-off routine and trust the caring staff at Sprouting Knowledge to let you know if your child is struggling to settle. I am in awe of how brave you parents are for your trust in me and my staff to care for your little ones. It is also such a sign of their strength and attachment to you that they are capable of crying it out and then coming into the program engaged and curious.
We started one of my favorite circles this morning and it will carry us through to the end of our session. It is all about birds and involves one of my all time favorite and most simple preschool games: Birds Fly.
I told a few of the children about what we had planned for the day, our long walk along the creek all the way to the “pretend” North Pole and playing with some coloured snow, which resulted in a few of them asking me multiple times when it was time for play.
As it turned out it took a VERY long time for us to get organized today, with bathroom breaks, those who were slow to pack up, and lots of stopping to look at cool ice formations along the way 😉 Which meant we did not get as much time to play as I am sure everyone would have liked. Sometimes that is the way it goes.
The result was that when we did arrive at North Bank everyone was VERY quick to engage in some form of play. We ended up with three groups of children all playing in a variation of a similar theme. One group on the blankets was full of a narrative of pretend play where they had most of our stuffed animals and a bunch of bandanas. Another group was engaged in mastery play with the snow, which they scooped and stirred and talked with each other about their ideas and creations. The third group has a year long theme of preparing and hosting a birthday party that they return to week after week; these are our children who are engaged in deep socio-dramatic play and who willingly accept (and incorporate) the ideas and invitations of their peers into their narrative.
It has been tempting for me as a teacher to stand back and let the children have all the fun. My background in Waldorf education would say that this is absolutely essential to the children perceiving me as the loving authority that I need to be to maintain control of the group. And while I do agree that I can’t have too much fun, I have learned that there is nothing wrong with a little role modelling to help give children some ideas for what is possible.
Today making perfect blocks of snow was possible.
Some of the children were able to do this with no help at all.
Others learned that if they packed the snow in as tight as they did last week it won’t come out.
Together we learned it was a very good day for making snow blocks and as I worked with another child to build a tower that then became a wall, then an igloo, other children were inspired to add their blocks to our creation.
Sadly we ran out of time but all involved agreed that we could come back and work on it again the next day.
Which is exactly what we will do.
I hope that collectively all the classes can build a snow fort together this week. That is, if I can manage to stop the children from breaking the snow blocks when my back is turned!
See you tomorrow 🙂