Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's In There

Just as Ragu proudly exclaims "It's In There".  Play can make the same declaration. 

Sharing?  Compromise?  Patience?  Teamwork?


Trial and error?  Cause and effect?  Problem Solving?  Imagination?


Making sense of numbers?  Using words?  Expanding vocabularies?


Self regulation?  Compassion?  Creativity?  Sense of pride?




When you give play a chance, when you sit back and really take a close look at play, you simply cannot argue with the statment:  IT'S IN THERE.

Just in the last 45 minutes, this is what was found in play at my program:

The planned part:

1)  The MYSTERY WORD ("hunt") was written on an index card and hung on the wall
2)  The letters, h,u,n,t were hidden
3)  Plastic Easter eggs were taken apart and hidden seperately from their other half...some up in the buckets held to the ceiling by our PULLEY SYSTEM, some in plain site
4)  Various bunnies found at the $1 section of Target were hidden (bendy bunnies, hopping bunnies similiar to Ants in the Pants, and wind up bunnies)

What was in there:
  • Pride in discovery as the children find all the fun things that have been hidden
  • Teamwork and cooperation in finding the letters for the mystery word and building it
  • Literacy skills to figure out what the mystery word is. 
Bergen (5), began the process (she's a take charge kind of a gal): 
Bergen:  "Okay boys and girls.  What sound does "H" make?"
.......no response
Bergen:   "H says "huh"."   "Okay....what does "U" say?"
Jack (turned 3 2 weeks ago):  "Uh"
Bergen:  "YES!  Nice job Jack"
Ty (5):   "I KNOW!  I KNOW it!!  It says "hunt"!"
Me:  "Wow Ty!  You are right!!  The mystery word is "hunt"!!  Nice job using your smarts!!"
Cole:  "HEY!  It says "hunt" because we are hunting for eggs!"
Gavin:  "And bunnies"
  • The relevance of numbers
Gavin:  "It must be Easter today!  Denita?  Is it Easter today?"
Me:  "It might feel that exciting Gavin, but Easter is not today.  Easter will be on Sunday."
Ty:  "When is Sunday?"
Me:  "Use your smarts, and tell ME when Sunday is"
So..off to our "deconstructed calendar" they went to use their smarts.  Within minutes, they showed me when Sunday would be.  I then asked them how many days until Sunday.  Five was their response.  AWESOME.

Meanwhile....across the room, Jack and Erik are busy counting the Easter eggs as they load up an egg carton.

  • Trial and error, prediction, visual planning and tracking as Ethan discovered the fun of catapulting a bunny into a bucket
  • One-to-one coorespondence as Gavin made sure no one had more then one bendy bunny.
  • Number recognition as today's number was found and placed in the right spot on the calendar
  • Fine tuning those small motor muscles by putting plastic eggs together
  • Visual descrimination as they hunt for the matching halves of eggs
  • Imagination as two children are role playing with the bendy bunnies...inventing their own "bunny language"
  • Role Playing, practicing what we know, more imagination as Gavin is walking around selling "EASTER EGGS!  WHO WANTS TO BUY AN EASTER EGG?!"
  • Applying Previously Learned Knowledge to a NEW Situation, Imagination, Trial and Error, Cause and Effect as a group of children build a ramp and watch as the eggs successfully wobble down to to the ground!
  • Patience, sharing, cooperation, planning, strengthening large muscles and even more imagination as a group of children have organized themselves into a game of jumping.  They have the step stool (always available for solving problems), and the squishy square floor tiles set up for a landing pad.  There is a line of 7 children patiently awaiting their turn to jump onto the squishy squares they have carefully arranged.  Add in the backwards counting from 10 as each child approaches "lift off" and you've got some math too!!

Play.....IT'S IN THERE!!