Items filtered by date: January 2019
Sunday, 13 January 2019 18:23

The roles we play

     Play is foundational at The Antioch School.  Play allows children to try out new roles, solutions, and behaviors in an informal, low risk setting.  A good example of this is detailed in the children's story, Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, which is the recollections of the author's mother about a wild space where the neighborhood children played.  Part of the story goes, "Everybody had a car.  All you needed was something round for a steering wheel. . . if you broke the speed limit you had to go to jail.  The jail had cactus on the floor to make it uncomfortable. . .Anna May, quiet little Anna May was always speeding.  You'd think she liked to go to jail."  Play can be a way for children to explore being the rule breaker or the hero--or both.  

     Play is so integral to the children's days at school that they generally ignore adult presence while engaged in it.  This allows me to have a window into their world.  One such window occurred last week on the day there was a covering of snow on the ground.  The children had donned their winter gear, and we went out to the playground.  One Kindergartner in her snow pants and puffy, winter coat held her arms out perpendicular to her body and tottered around on stiff legs. 

     "I can't move.  I'm like the little brother on the "You'll-shoot-your-eye-out" movie," she explained to no one in particular, as she continued to move stiffly across the snowy playground.  Then she threw herself onto the ground, thrashing about.  "Help!  Help!" she called. 

     A child nearby, who is often on the receiving end of friends' offers to help, looked over in a puzzled way.

     "Help!  Help!" the first child called again, continuing to thrash in the snow.  The nearby child scanned the area.  All the other children were engaged in their own play and seemed oblivious to the drama playing out.  At that point, the second child gathered herself decisively and strode over to her fallen friend.  She reached down and "lifted" the fallen child from the ground. 

     "There you go," she declared.  They then replayed this scene multiple times with several helpers eventually joining in, until the snowy balance beam caught their eyes, and they moved onto exploring slippery surface balance together. 


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