Today our lesson plans included a sink and float experiment . They also included talking about the part of an apple – you know the skin , the stem blah blah blah. Its been such a wonderful day that we did that VERY quickly and got on the the REAL learning that takes place in our little preschool family. We ditched it all and headed to the park. On the way we found red, yellow, orange and purple leaves. We saw nuts and acorns on the ground and listened to the dry brown leaves crunch under our feet.
One our way we stopped in at our library and read a couple books about fall and Halloween.
Then we made our way to the park ! I thought we had made one other trip but Ms Dallas said this one was out first. We have two rules when we are at the park. 1. Everyone has to stay inside the blue ring. 2. We go down the slide and not up. Those are for safety. But most of all we have fun !
Another thing we do at the park ( and every day at school ) is take risks . Are risks good for children ?
On our playground we have long board and stumps for building and climbing. We have long PVC pipes to build with. We have shovel and real tools. The children do take risks every day as they use these loose parts. Risks are good for children. First and foremost if they are not given the opportunity to assess risk then what happens when they are out from our watchful eyes and need to decide if something might be harmful ? Taking risks with a calm adult who is carefully watching and helping a child build the courage to take the next step can be empowering for a child.
When children are allowed the freedom to be their small energy packed selves that run and jump without abandon they learn how their body operates in the context of our big world. As I watched a little one decide to slide down the firemans pole today she said ” This is taller than my body. Maybe I shouldn’t.’ She walked away. But .. she came back.
Sometimes children do get hurt but taking risks also allows them to rebound and try again . It gives them the opportunity to be comforted and to breathe and calm themselves and realize ” Im ok. It hurt but I am ok. ”
Today we watched as Clara came back to the fire pole time and time again. She would breathe. She would stick her foot out a little but back away. I took a little video of her SECOND try. The first time I was trying to be careful incase she did fall . I wanted to be attentive. Clara gained so much confidence today as she finally slid down the fire pole. She was so proud of herself. She was careful . She assessed her risk. She trusted me . She did it over and over after the first time. Giving children a sense of accomplishment and a sense of courage if not something we can do. We can only give them the opportunities. I am really proud of our school family too. The rallied around Clara to support her .
Oh and we played in the sand and had a picnic!