called to teach, called to play

I was thinking about Teacher Tom and Jenny at Let the Children Play. I was thinking about how teachers we know in the blogosphere are teachers We Know, I mean Really Know. We know what they believe in (children's right to play), we know their mission (uplifting children's play) and we know they each have been called to their work (being educators who Play alongside children). Tom and Jenny certainly Chose their work, but they really were called to it. Thankfully. Their voices in the blogosphere have changed educators and parents perspectives on Play as THE WAY for children to truly, authentically learn.

I was thinking about how each of us have a calling, really, even in the tiniest of moments. For me, when I think of children, I am pulled toward the word Choice. I realize I have written about Choice before, such as I NEED to Do This and Following Emily . I value it maybe more than most other elements of early childhood education because without it the other elements would likely fail.

Here are a few photo examples of Choices being made in children's Play. Each fascinate me in their own way as it seems these children were Called to this specific Play, at this specific moment, and remained engaged in their Choice for lengthy periods of time.

This 4yo girl starting swinging these four swings. She began at one end, gave the first one a push, then moved to the next, next, next. She then circled her way back to the first one to keep them all in motion. She worked here for nearly 15 minutes, alone, keeping all swings swinging.
Two 3yo girls collecting bark and sticks, sitting on tree seats, holding pine cones, magnifiers and - of course - one saw.
3 children with 3 ladders looking in - perhaps - 3 different directions at our neighbor classroom yard.
I observed one 3 yo girl working with a crate full of dinosaurs. First, she arranged them this way, with tails touching in a circle. Then, she aligned them in two rows. Then, partnered them up. Very intentional work.
This 3 yo boy worked for over 20 minutes in the sand area. He dug a deep hole first. Then, he spotted the tires amid the sand and - one by one -rolled and hauled them to layer over his sand hole. After 3 tires high, he peered in, asked me to look in, also, then ran off.   
This 4 year old girl worked for over an hour in the sand and water area, most of the time by herself. She became engrossed in testing out the floating properties of the pine cones. Did you know that some float and some sink? (It's true!). She also tested trying to attach a sinking pine cone to one that did float to see if they would float together. (Any guesses?)


What have you been Called to do?
Did you have a Choice?
Do you get to Play alongside Children?

 

10 comments:

  1. Great post & love the photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kierna - Thanks! I know you are also Called to Teach - I have followed your blog for a long time :)

      Delete
  2. I knew as a child that I wanted to be a teacher... the age range of the children I hoped to teach has changed over the years, but it was 20 years ago that I realised that it was with young children I liked being the most... and 13 years ago when I realised that it was in the preschool world I wanted to teach/learn...

    I love not have a specific curriculum to follow but that the Swedish curriculum is play based and is more of a guide to support and follow the children - to provide the right opportunities for play to enhance their understanding of life and the world around them...

    its not a job - its a lifestyle...

    and I view the bloggers and other ECE teachers I meet online and not in person as colleagues... we meet and discuss and exchange ideas just as I would with any other colleague!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suzanne - Well said! It is such a journey to feel out exactly with whom we connect in the richest way. Working with young children is a gift for those of us who have that calling.
      Like your school, where I teach in California USA is also play based, child centered and has a huge outdoor natural play space which makes it a wondrous place to be each day.
      I agree, the online bloggers/educators are absolute colleagues. We have built in professional development on a daily basis - awesome.

      Delete
  3. You wouldn't happen to know where those ladder came from, would you? We've been searching for replacements for our long-broken playground ladders!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie - I will try to find out! I agree - they are wonderful ladders!

      Delete
    2. Thanks! We found some that looked like yours, but they were too heavy for the children to move.

      Delete
    3. Julia - Glad you found some [heavy] ones. Our school starts back this week so I'll see if I can find out where we originally got the ladders!

      Delete
  4. I was definitely called to work with children. Before I became a mother, I was an elementary teacher. I wish I had known then what I know now about the importance of play. It was something I only realized once I became a mother and saw the innate drive children have to make sense of their lives and learn through play.

    Thank you so much for sharing at The Golden Gleam's page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rebekah. I agree, we all probably realize the incredible value of play in a deeper way as our teaching years increase. It also makes more sense as the "allowance" for children to play has been scrutinized, reduced or even treated as a reward instead of a right. Cheers to PLAY. Jeanne

      Delete

Please share your ideas, comments and feedback! Thanks!