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.