Thursday, March 22, 2012

just one spark: a play based program

One simple spark can ignite the children's interest, giving them an idea that leads to another idea that leads to another idea that that then takes them off in an entirely different direction. 

We teachers run to keep up.   Simply put, we support the process through such things as supplying the resources, providing plenty of time and space for the play to run its course and giving the support of an interested grown up when needed.

At the beginning of each day, we never know where these sparks will lead us.  Sometimes the sparks we ignite fizzle and burn.  Others can keep everyone going for days at a time.

Yesterday's spark was streamers and sticky tape in the new/old cubby:

Which got the children talking and thinking about birthday parties.

Which lead, naturally, to making birthday cakes.  Off next door to the outdoor kitchen to cook up a storm, where they discovered tubs of glitter amongst the usual sand, sawdust and dirt:

Initially the glitter was perfect for icing the birthday cakes.  Then it lead to conversations of fairies and princesses and before you knew it the new/old cubby had become a princess castle and the outdoor kitchen had become a secret laboratory to mix potions to kill the wicked witches:

What princess is complete without a crown?  Quick, run down to the craft table so we can make some:

After a trip to dress ups and newly made crowns planted firmly on heads, the princesses were now suitably attired to enter their castle.  Imagine their indignation when they discovered that BOYS had taken up residence there.  Back inside to write signs for the castle to warn both boys and wicked witches to KEEP OUT: 

In between trips up and down to the castle, there was time to make a castle out of blocks:

and to catch a quick show:

and to draw pictures to adorn the walls of the castle:

Literacy, drawing, creating, imagining, pretending, building, problem solving, sharing ideas, listening to the ideas of others, negotiating conflict, independence, language, decision making, problem solving, exploring scientific and mathematical concepts, initiating carrying out and adapting their own play.....the list goes on and on.

When children have the time and freedom in a stimulating environment set up by interested and knowledgeable adults one little spark can sweep them up and carry them through the day - with lots of learning and fun along the way.

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