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Giving Children Access

One of the hallmarks of my program is its child-centered-ness. I am a firm believer in the importance of play-based, organic experiences that are rooted solidly in the children’s interests. My role is to scaffold and extend their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development by wading with them in the metaphorical pools in which they are already swimming.  Too much metaphor for a Monday?



There is something about a child’s ability to find joy and energy in the most routine of events that is captivating!  A few weeks ago, my daughter was bemoaning the fact that she has to change *out* of her pajamas in the morning.

“Why can’t we ever wear our pajamas all day??”

I was in a hurry, and I blurted out (more out of a desire to stop the run of questions than for actual connecting with her needs…): “November 18.  We can wear our jammies all day on November 18.”


Phases of Matter

Pretty sophisticated for preschool, huh?  Last Friday, the crew and I went for a walk to the park, and noticed some ice at the bottom of the slide.  It had rained the night before, and (being that it’s November in Iowa) with the cold temperatures, that water had turned to ice.  That process is clear to me, but I was curious about the line of reasoning that my walking buddies would use to explain ice on the slide.  So, I asked.  How do you suppose ICE ended up on the slide???


Squash Painting

We have had mini-pumpkins, gourds, and all kinds of fall squashes in our space for a little over a month. They have been carried around, put in baskets, rolled down the slide, talked into like telephones, “cooked” in the play oven, fed to the dinosaurs, and any number of other amazing feats of wonder. It was about time for these emblems of fall to find a home in a compost bin somewhere, and I decided to set up for one final squash-extravaganza. I taped paper to our table so the entire surface was covered, displayed the squashes in the middle, and waited for the kids to be drawn to the table.

“Oooo…what are *these* for??” (Amazing how the squashes take on a new life when they are moved to a new place.)

“I don’t know. They have an interesting texture. I thought they might be interesting to use with some paint.”

Looks like I was on to something. Everyone was thrilled with the plan. We all gathered at the table, and I brought out paint and platters. I imagined the kids would use the squashes like stamps — after all, they had such unique textures — but that’s not at all what happened next!