Some days are just more hectic than others. I think sometimes the state that you greet your day with is where you reside for a while. That holds true for children and adults. Here’s a funny for your day. Randy was ready for breakfast this morning. Homemade muffins on plates with milk and apple sitting inside the foyer. As he got to the last child he realized he was out of muffins. He was missing a muffin and it was nowhere to be found. Finally he went in the house and grabbed toast and gave it to that child. Later in the morning I reached in my apron pocket for an ink pen to begin taking observations. What do you think was in my pocket? Instead of a pen I grabbed a muffin. 🤷🏻♀️ Honestly, at first I thought the bread god had found a way me a way to get through my day without being hungry. It was my favorite food to boot. But in reality what had happened is Randy and I were both walking out the door at the same time and the muffins tumbled and one landed in my pocket. What are the chances of that happening ?
Let’s talk for a minute about the value of allowing children extended time or play outside without direction. We’ve already talked about the fact that allowing children to become a little bored increases their creativity which is important. It encourages social interaction. But yesterday for the first time this year I watched the play get a little deeper.
The boys went and got the wood out of the container and started building things.
They carefully worked together laying out the boards in different configurations and talked about other things that they needed. When they ended the day it was a boat.
Today they started building again. I sat on the bench under the tree and watched and listened for quite a while.
At first it was a boat and then it was a flying ship. I heard them say things like “we are in the lava” or “we need gas.” Dirk said “we’re up in the sky.” Derek said “ I’m sinking.” There was even math because I heard “only three persons can be be on the ship” They tried to decide who would need to leave. They finally decided that Elijah could stay because he’s not a boy he’s a shark. 🤷🏻♀️
It’s my job as a teacher to scaffold their learning. What can I add to this situation to encourage them to continue to play ? What would happen if I added boat oars? What would happen if I added a steering wheel? Inside maybe I can read them a story about a flying ship. This is where the rubber hits the road for teachers that teach the way I do. We watch their play and continually think how we can get them to engage even more.
Why let them do this? Shouldn’t I be teaching them ? Arkansas uses the Child Development in Early Learning Standards . This is a set of Common expectations for what children typically know, understand, and are able to do a different ages in early childhood. It is research based written with the understanding that all children develop at different paces.
So let’s compare some standards to this imaginative play in the front yard . I am only going to mention a few of the ones that fall in our age range. Many of the others they have already surpassed!
SE1. Shows preference for certain playmates and develop friendships with a small groups of children that are more reciprocal, exclusive, and enduring over time.
Engaged and cooperative play with peers.
Shows are increasing understanding and demonstration of social skills such as turn taking, initiating enjoying group play situations, and solving social conflict with adult guidance.
cd1 Experiments with objects and materials with increasing sophistication.
Persist in activities for longer periods of time and shows increasing ability to engage in tasks from start to finish.
PH1 I moves with control, avoiding obstacles and people
Coordinates increasingly complex movements while maintaining core.
LD1 Uses increasingly complex and varied vocabulary words to express needs and describe objects, relationships between objects, emotions and actions.
Tells increasingly detailed stories about other times or places with increasing accuracy.
Y’all I could go on and on and on. These are the experiences where children can be taught amazing things. They develop naturally it’s just my job as a teacher to allow them the experiences and help them when I can.
Can we just have a brief moment of silence for preschool children that are sitting in a room right now with worksheets . 😭