Friday, March 8, 2019

Play

“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” –  Abraham Maslow
 “The true object of all human life is play.” -G. K. Chesterton
 Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” -Mr. Rogers
 “Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.” -Plato

 Play is the exultation of the possible.” -Martin Buber
 Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” -Joseph Chilton Pearce
May each of us uphold the child's right to wonder, curiosity, enthusiasm and play.  In so doing may we cultivate our own capacity for joy and rediscover this moment, exactly as it is, full of possibility.  Have a beautiful and playful weekend.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Cherry pie's and cherry blossoms to hurry Spring along

BJ joined us in the studio this week to make cherry turnovers.  The recipe was super simple:
Prepare pie dough however you like and roll out into sheets, then cut into circles (the rim of a large glass works great).  For the filling add cinnamon, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice to a few bags of frozen cherries.  Tuck some of the filling into the center of a pie dough circle, fold the dough in half and press edges with the tines of a fork to seal.  Brush with butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon then bake til golden brown.  YUMMMMMMY!
Meanwhile the children and I made paper cherry blossoms and painted a large branch (salvaged from up the street) in sunny pastels.  The effect is on display in the studio as a hopeful invitation for an early Spring.  Swing by anytime to see.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Importance of Play

An infant drops her spoon.  It falls from view with a cling-clang as it hits the floor.  Where did it go?  Did it disappear?  She doesn't know but what FUN!  The child repeats this dropping routine as long as there's a handy adult available to retrieve the spoon. Why?  She's learning about object permanence and not through laborious drudgery but through play.  For her learning is fun.

Today, in the studio, a child wrapped herself in shimmery turquoise cloth and announced, "I'm the mom".  There must have been an unspoken consent amongst the group because they began acquiescing to everything she said.  "Put that over there."  "No you can't play that game, you have to sit down, I'm making supper." After several minutes I asked, "Who's making the rules?"  The group pointed to the mom.  So I ask, "Why does she get to make the rules?" They answer, "Because she's the mom.  Mom's always make the rules."  Their shared understanding of mom allowed the play to unfold without a hitch.  

Through play children negotiate complex social scenarios, problem solve and construct imaginative stories all while having a good time.  When it's no longer fun the play morphs into something else because play, by definition, is fun.

As adults we often dismiss play in subtle ways.  Even our vocabulary showcases our play prejudice.  "That's child play."  "You're being childish." etc.   But play IS a child's work.  It's fundamental to how children (which means humans) are hardwired to learn.  Why?  Science suggests that our prolonged human childhoods afford us increased opportunities to play.  This frolic may be largely responsible for our big neocortex.  What does that mean?  That play may be essential to why humans are... well...human.

Children today have less time for unstructured play than they did even a few decades ago.  Meanwhile educational policy and academic benchmarks seldom take into consideration the importance of play. When people emphasize the three R's at the expense of the big P...Play... I wonder if they've forgotten the thrill of discovery and the wonder that follows.  Like catching a snowflake on your tongue and wondering at the intricate crystalline structures blanketing the ground in white.  Life without play is not nearly as alive or fun.

Play cultivates a love of learning and a love of learning will serve a child their whole life long.


Read this brief article from NAEYC entitled 10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play

Friday, January 25, 2019

Where do the birds find their food in the winter?


“Where do animals get their dinner?” “ Do their parents make it for them?” Great questions!  To follow their caring inquiry BJ joined us in studio for a fun day making bird feeders for our winged friends.
To complement our bird study the children drew some of our favorite birds.  
Here are a few examples:


Of course we wanted to hear some birds too so we listened to classical music layered with birdsongs and got out our pop-up bird book which plays bird songs from different geographic regions.
And then we hung our bird feeders in front of the school!  
To make these fun feeders at home for your feathered friends simply spread some sun-butter on a pinecone, dunk the sticky mess in bird seed and hang it from a nearby tree.  Easy-peasy.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend listening to the birds in your backyard.