Ann's Blog
Items filtered by date: September 2019
Monday, 16 September 2019 02:08

Mystery, Magic and Discovery

It was hot and dry last week at school! Sand in the air ended up coating sweaty Nurseries with a fine layer of dust by the end of each day. One child made note that when you mix sand and water you get mud.

Nurseries are busy taking in their worlds… often when they appear to be mostly lost in a haze. They think about what is happening… or what has happened and then try to figure it out. Sometimes, compared to adult analysis, they make what seems to be strange sense of things. If you hang back a bit though, sometimes you can pick-up some amazing outside the box thinking. There is always an individual way to their figuring things out (which I am busy learning from each of them as part of my own process). Their individual ways might be linear or meander and jump from here to there and sometimes it ends up shaped and expressed into what can be described as a metaphor to express the feeling and emotion that surround what they are working to understand in the moment, or, it could something they’ve experienced and are remembering. “Remember when…?”

One morning on Tire Swing Side, I saw a Nursery child, one of the youngest in the group, leaning down and looking very intently at the ground. I wandered over and started looking with her. She had a small stick and was poking at the ground where there was a patch of scintillating light about 8 inches in diameter. We talked about it.

It was a display that seemed to be coming out of the ground in some odd way. It was nothing I had ever experienced before and my immediate instinct was to find another stick and poke around with her. The light really did seem to be emerging directly from the ground.

Because I am a grown up, and by definition with more experience and knowledge and observation hours, I found myself quickly discounting that theory and I started looking up and around and about to try to figure it out in another way! (Of course, more experience and knowledge and observation hours, can also lead you into assumptions and thinking that closes too quickly. It can speed up your thinking, but it can also lead to thinking that’s just more inside the box. It can create limits to your understanding.)

Anyway, other Nurseries began to appear. They joined us in the marvel and then wound into their own processes of searching out answers. Since I had already discounted my own from-the-ground and from-above hypotheses, I started scanning the Kindergarten window wall that was nearby. There was a lot of discussion with a lot of ideas and a lot of poking at the ground and looking about. Then while looking through the Kindergarten window, I saw the overhead fan cutting the sunlight that was coming in from the skylight… with a pattern that exactly matched the pattern of scintillating light that seemed to be emerging from the ground.

I said nothing about my discovery, but I did step in front of the source for a moment which stopped the light display. I stepped aside and then I did it over again for just a little bit longer. The Nurseries glanced over and were matching my movements with what they were observing about the light display disappearing and reappearing. Almost immediately I heard one say, “It’s from the sun! It’s from the sun! Look into the Kindergarten room!” There was talk and some quick theories about different kinds of skylights. All of this happened in just a few minutes time and then they were off and onto other things.

Along with the of the light mystery, it was magic to watch them work!

Monday, 02 September 2019 19:33

The Trees that Say "Stop!"

l loved getting to see the children together in our two little Nursery groups last week. They were up in the loft…  and down and up and down again… checking things out (and one another!) from different perspectives… and getting to know that ladder. On Thursday, we mixed up a beautiful batch of blue play dough which they enjoyed both mornings. They were around the room or elbow to elbow at the long table, and all the while they were getting to know one another in the context of a new year. They flattened and rolled, pounded and pulled; they rolled little balls and bigger balls; molded and cut it into shape, built it up and decorated, and often started all over again.

Each of those two morning, around 9:00 or 9:15, a Nurseryer came up with the idea of wanting to go outside. So I polled the children on “how-many-minutes-do-you-want.” On Friday the children independently announced their choices as the numbers 1 through 5 which was fun and so very unusual. I added them up, we “found the middle,” and then got out the three minute timer to match.

Each morning we used the timers and gathered at the rocking chairs for our first group meeting of the year and talked about staying together so we could all see “the-trees-that-say-stop.”  Once outside, we walked the entire perimeters of the Tire Swing Side (on the west) and the Cycle Circle Side (on the east) to get oriented with both play yards and comfortable with the visual boundaries.

The delayed gratification of first walking the perimeter of the play yards all together and in a group instead of simply heading out to get busy with their ideas for sun and sand and trikes and friends can be really hard work for children these ages. After snack and stories when we were planning for their second perimeter walk (this time on the Cycle Circle Side) one child said very clearly (and insistently), “But I don’t want to.”

I said, “I don’t want to either… it can take a long time… let’s really stay together this time and see if we can walk quickly. I think we can make it work.”

It was a mighty quick walk! Each time I asked, what does the tree (or bush or stump or corner of the building) say there was a great answering chorus of “Stop!” We were all the way around before we knew it and they were off the play.

It is all in their process and perhaps a little glimmer of the individual and group work they will be doing. This time one child presented a problem and I was the one who presented a solution. Layers and complexities to be added. Stay tuned, we are off to a fine beginning!



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