"the world is my rope swing"

I was tempted to NOT write any post to go with this title as it is oh-so-lovely on its own. However, credit for the quote should be given. So, here is the story.
I am a lucky blogger in that I occasionally happen upon friends' stories or photos that capture my attention and I ask if I can share them with Zella readers.
This is just such a case.

"T" on one of his adventures - boots, cape and absolute focus while balancing on a log.
My dear friend and former colleague Megan has an adventurous 5-year-old boy "T" who loves exploring and inventing.

This is Megan's recap of how the quote from "T" came about:

"It all came about while we were driving to school the other morning. He enjoys playing with ropes. They become anything from snakes, weapons, tools and in this case, zip lines. While driving, he had tied a rope to the passenger head rest in front of him and the other end to the safety handle. He said he made a zip line and had a little ninja figurine sliding down it. Then he noticed the slack of the rope and that it made another zip line, just shorter. He began joking around that I got the short zip line. I went with the joke and it made him laugh to think he had a longer zip line than me. He then proceeded to share the longer one with me and began talking about various lengths of zip lines."
The quote came after his playing with his ninja figurine and creating the zip line:
'THE WORLD IS MY ROPE SWING.'

As an advocate for children to make their own play choices and to be an active agent in making meaning of their world, I had one of those crinkly smiles on my face when I had first read "T"s quote and Megan's story. THIS is what I would wish for all children: The sense of freedom to create, the continued drive to play and be playful, and the gift to trust in one's relationship to something as an individual.
"T" seems to know at age 5 that he has power and has a place in the world - with or without a rope swing.

[ My special thanks to Megan and "T" for allowing me to share a slice of their family life here on Zella. Cheers to more adventures with ropes and ninjas. ]


" we're in ireland "

Children are story tellers and live their own stories.

Two girls, ages 3 and 4, went on an extended adventure one afternoon in the school yard.

They brought one clipboard, two pencils, and a huge stack of white and yellow paper.
As they traveled along, they would giggle and run and giggle more. At one point, they sat down in the sand area and took out their clipboard. A teacher asked if they would like anything written down: "Yes!" 
This is the story they shared:

"We're in Ireland. We are going to skate, eat fortune cookies, see the big ornaments, drink hot cocoa and eat bagels."

And, off they went.


Where did your children go today?

just playing? big swirl painting

This post is the 7th in the series called "Just Playing?" Please join fellow bloggers in the series as we offer photo prompts of PLAY to provoke group reflective practice and give voice to the developmental values that are imbedded in play. Scroll to bottom of post to link up and to see who else has joined the series!

Just Playing.
We have all heard this before, and maybe even said it ourselves: The children are "just playing".   [gasp!]


However, as early childhood educators, we really do know better than that.
Research knows better than that, too. Play is the healthiest and most authentic way children learn about themselves, about others and about the world they live in. A great Play resource is The National Institue for Play led by founder Dr. Stuart Brown.


This week's highlighted photo focuses on a 3 year old boy at the easel. He focus and exploration with the painting tool - the brush - and his use of the large space of the paper is impressive.

Questions for consideration:

What is happening in the photos?
Who are the players?
What materials are present?

What are the developmental values embedded - possibly - in the scenarios?

Why is any of this play important? 


THANKS FOR "JUST PLAYING" WITH PAINT, PAPER AND BRUSHES!

just playing This post is part of a Blog Hop! 
"Hop" on over to all of the other bloggers who are sharing photos of children learning through play this week:
If you are looking for more of our “Just Playing?” posts and resources from around the globe, please visit our Pinterest Board.
Are you a blogger? Would you like to join the JUST PLAYING? blog hop community?
You can join the hop via our Facebook Group: Just Playing?

just playing? working with clay

This post is the 5th in the series called "Just Playing?" Please join fellow bloggers in the series as we offer photo prompts of PLAY to provoke group reflective practice and give voice to the developmental values that are imbedded in play. Scroll to bottom of post to link up and to see who else has joined the series! 


Just Playing.
We have all heard this before, and maybe even said it ourselves:
The children are "just playing".   [gasp!] 


However, as early childhood educators, we really do know better than that.
Research knows better than that, too. Play is the healthiest and most authentic way children learn about themselves, about others and about the world they live in. A great Play resource is The National Institue for Play led by founder Dr. Stuart Brown.



This week's highlighted photos focus on a 4 year old girl working with clay - with her hands and with a clay cutting tool - to form, manipulate and deconstruct her exploration.

Questions for consideration:

What is happening in the photos?
Who are the players?
What materials are present?

What are the developmental values embedded - possibly - in the scenarios?

Why is any of this play important? 


THANKS FOR "JUST PLAYING" WITH CLAY!

just playing This post is part of the "Just Playing?" Blog Hop!

If you are looking for more of our “Just Playing?” posts and resources from around the globe, please visit our Pinterest Board.
Are you a blogger? Would you like to join the JUST PLAYING? blog hop community?
You can join the hop via our Facebook Group: Just Playing?

just playing? group parachute game

This post is the 4th in the series called "Just Playing?"
Please join fellow bloggers in the series as we offer photo prompts of PLAY to provoke group reflective practice and give voice to the developmental values that are imbedded in play. Scroll to bottom of post to link up and to see who else has joined the series! 

Just Playing.
We have all heard this before, and maybe even said it ourselves:
The children are "just playing".   [gasp!]


However, as early childhood educators, we really do know better than that.
Research knows better than that, too. Play is the healthiest and most authentic way children learn about themselves, about others and about the world they live in. A great Play resource is The National Institue for Play led by founder Dr. Stuart Brown.




This week's highlighted photo focuses on parachute play with a group of young children!

Questions for consideration:
What is happening in the photos?
Who are the players?
What materials are present?
What are the developmental values embedded - possibly - in the scenarios?
Why is any of this play important?


THANKS FOR "JUST PLAYING" WITH THE PARACHUTE!

just playing This post is part of the "Just Playing?" Blog Hop!
If you are looking for more of our “Just Playing?” posts and resources from around the globe, please visit our Pinterest Board.
Are you a blogger? Would you like to join the JUST PLAYING? blog hop community?
You can join the hop via our Facebook Group: Just Playing?

just playing? the easel as inspiration

This post is the third in the series called "Just Playing?"
Please join fellow bloggers in the series as we offer photo prompts of PLAY to provoke group reflective practice and give voice to the developmental values that are imbedded in play. Scroll to bottom of post to link up and to see who else had photo-bombed about play!
 
Just Playing.
We have all heard this before, and maybe even said it ourselves:
The children are "just playing".   [gasp!]


2 girls, 2 easels, 2 paintings, 2 stories
However, as early childhood educators, we really do know better than that.
Research knows better than that, too. Play is the healthiest and most authentic way children learn about themselves, about others and about the world they live in. A great Play resource is The National Institue for Play led by founder Dr. Stuart Brown.

 
This week's 2 highlighted photos focus on the world of the easel, paint, friendship and storytelling!
Can the easel provoke complex play?
Can the easel be inspiration for children to engage on many levels?
Questions for consideration:
What is happening in the photos?
Who are the players?
What materials are present?
What are the developmental values embedded - possibly - in the scenarios?
Why is any of this play important?

 

One easel, One completed painting, One story told all the way to "The End"

Thanks for Just Playing at the easel!



just playing
If you are looking for more of our “Just Playing?” posts and resources from around the globe, please visit our Pinterest Board.
Are you a blogger? Would you like to join the JUST PLAYING? blog hop community?
You can join the hop via our Facebook Group: Just Playing?

just playing? the power of a pen


This post is the second in the series called "Just Playing?"

Please join fellow bloggers in the series as we offer photo prompts of PLAY to provoke group reflective practice and give voice to the developmental values that are imbedded in play.
Thanks to Amy from Child Central Station for starting this series which is a weekly blog hop for anyone [scroll to bottom of post to link up!]. Bloggers will be sharing photos - usually without supporting text - to allow readers to view and interpret Children At Play with a thoughtful, intentional lens.


Just Playing.
We have all heard this before, and maybe even said it ourselves:
The children are "just playing".   [gasp!]

However, as early childhood educators,we really do know better than that.
Research knows better than that, too. Play is the healthiest and most authentic way children learn about themselves, about others and about the world they live in. A great Play resource is The National Institue for Play led by founder Dr. Stuart Brown.


This week's 3 highlighted photos focus on the opportunity for small motor development and representational work during children's choice time in class.
What happens when children have access to writing tools?
What IS the power of a pen?
Questions for consideration:
What is happening in the photos?
Who are the players?
What materials are present?
What are the developmental values embedded - possibly - in the scenarios?
Why is any of this play important?



WHAT IS THE INTENTION HERE?

SIX MONTHS EARLIER THIS BOY HAD NO INTEREST IN DRAWING. TRUE?















































WHAT CONCEPTS HAS THIS CHILD STARTED EXPLORING?

























just playing
This post is part of the "Just Playing?" Blog Hop!

just playing? climbing a block tower

Just Playing.
We have all heard this before, and maybe even said it ourselves:
The children are "just playing".   [gasp!]

However, as early childhood educators,we really do know better than that.
Research knows better than that, too. Play is the healthiest and most authentic way children learn about themselves, about others and about the world they live in. A great Play resource is The National Institue for Play led by founder Dr. Stuart Brown.

Thanks to Amy from Child Central Station for starting this series "Just Playing?" which will be a weekly blog hop. Bloggers will be sharing photos - usually without supporting text - to allow readers to think about Just Playing in a thoughtful, reflective way.

Questions for consideration:
What is happening in the photos?
Who are the players?
What materials are present?
What are the developmental values embedded - possibly - in the scenarios?
Why is any of this play important?

This premiere week of Just Playing, I am sharing a sequence of three children working collaboratively with wood blocks. I was intrigued by their group work, yet I was also intrigued by one member's physical engagement with the structure.

What do you see? What do you think is inside of this play?



COLLABORATION
VIEW AT THE TOP


CLIMBING





























 
just playing  
This post is part of the "Just Playing?" Blog Hop!

teaching from the empty swing

Have you ever NOT been in the classroom during a normal school year? Put a giant PAUSE button on your teaching life?


Without children in my days, it is like lacking a food source.
I am afforded the opportunity for reflection on my blogging life and my teaching life.
This opportunity comes in the form of some recovery time at home after having wrist surgery last week. I will be out of my classroom position for at least one month, and we'll see from there how I am doing and when I can return.

The irony in this break from teaching is that I get unbroken time to appreciate the journey of this blog.

I actually started Zella over 3 years ago on a recommendation from the director of my former school who knew I was home recovering from - then - ankle surgery. She offered the idea of a blog, that maybe while I lay at home with my leg elevated, I would maybe give myself something to do with my photographs and learning stories of young children.
Hmm. Interesting idea.

As it turns out, it was an idea that literally changed my professional life.

My blog has connected me with amazing people from around the world, from
Teacher Tom to
Jenny at Let The Children Play to
Anna at The Imagination Tree to
Rachelle at Tinkerlab,
and around the world a few more times.

The blog has given me a voice to share the authentic learning of young children as they engage in their own choices of play:
Following Emily 

The blog has given me a voice to say Teachers, you are the force of change and for knowing what is the healthiest learning for young children. Teachers, tell your families that choices and time and natural materials are right, absolutely right : 
Be That Teacher

The blog has given me connections in real life to uplift and encourage social networking for schools as a real, valuable form of communication. Real. Valuable.
This was my most wide spread post on how to be inspired by pedagogy yet how to be grounded enough to commit to the school and culture where you truly teach:
My Break-up Letter With The Reggio Approach

Currently, I am formatting a blog for my school and doing some social networking for them. It is exciting work to be at the beginning of something. To know an amazing school will soon share about their amazing [simple] work of dedicated play with young children.

So, the swing is empty for now yet the stories runneth over.



100,000 views for clay, paint and dirt

Cheers to 2014.
With it, a landmark milestone was passed for Zella Said Purple: over 100,000 page views over the last three years. 
http://zellasaidpurple.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-break-up-letter-with-reggio-approach.html
1.CLAY: My Break-up Letter with the Reggio Approach

I must say, while I had a small grin across my face when I discovered this number rolled over my page, I am a blogger with a different intention.

I started my blog as a way to have a reflective voice while I was out of the classroom for a year recuperating from ankle surgery. My public narrative of children's learning processes was a joy to write and actually changed my life as an educator.
http://zellasaidpurple.blogspot.com/2011/06/what-if.html
2. PAINT: Be That Teacher
The weaving of these stories are the fabric of my teaching life.
I am lucky enough to blog when it strikes me, sometimes quiet for a length of time, sometimes writing in bursts.

With that said, it is cool to see what posts have been the Big Reads that resonated with or were shared by the masses. I don't write with that hope in mind, so it is a surprise when a topic or photo captures the attention of readers.

http://zellasaidpurple.blogspot.com/2012/02/for-love-of-dirt.html
3. DIRT: For the Love of Dirt
When reviewing my most read posts, I had another grin on my face because surely only in early childhood could these three focuses be The Top 3 Posts: Clay, Paint and Dirt. The lead photos for these posts were absolutely highlighting young children's engagement with these elements. 
Please click on the photos or captions to go to the full post!

gotta love clay paint dirt.