After such a big day for the children and their movie premiere at the Tucker Film Festival, an afternoon of open-ended experiences felt right for the children. These experiences may feel to the children like they are simply playing and exploring with their friends, but learning continues through their work.
During clay explorations, a common theme of ducks and other animals appeared. This came after yesterday's field trip to see the duck family at the canal, a book we read before lunch about ducks, and after the recent work in the Tucker Room preparing the animal movies and exploring the topic of animal habitats. So some of their creations today seemed to stem off of these recent experiences. While working, children made choices about how to manipulate the clay to get the desired effect such as James rolling balls of clay between his hands and Abby pressing a chunk of clay flat using her entire upper-body strength to form a nest. Abby also chose to take out a clay duck made in KW last year, possibly as inspiration as well as to include in work with the clay. Here are a few things the children said and did during their exploration with clay:
Abby- (After making a nest with eggs,) "I made so many eggs, soon I'm going to make a duck."
James - "I'm making a duck's nest."
Abby - "You're doing the same as me."
James - "There's a brand new baby coming out of the egg." (With a larger duck,) "There's a mother duck."
James also worked on a dog with two tails and a turtle.
Abby- (Putting clay balls on a pointy clay tool,) "Lollipop!"
Will also made nest with eggs.
While building with blocks, children had to work collaboratively to make decisions about materials, design, and rules of dramatic play scenario they created together. One of the important learning concepts children explore through dramatic play is the ability to cognitively, socially, and emotionally work through real-life experiences and concepts they have encountered whether in their own experiences or 'overheard' in the world around them. Together they test out their theories and understanding about social constructs. Today's scenario was a wonderful example of such learning as children played out rules and laws in a city, especially pertaining to vehicles. Here's a portion of their dialogue while playing:
Hugh - "I have to decide how much wight I want on my bridge."
Tommy - "I made parking."
Cate: (Placing animals) "These are the polices."
James: "How about a speeding trap in case cars go too fast? Police can just pull them over and give them a ticket."
(Children discuss if accidents happen in different areas, which spot would be best for the police to be stationed.)
James: "How about a toll?"
Tommy: "What about a paying machine for the people to pay who park here."
Tommy: "Secret Service can park anywhere and they can break the law because they are the people who arrest people and if they don't break the law they can't catch bad guys."
James: "Yeah, like if the speed limit is 90 they might go 110."
Tommy: "If you park here you have to pay."
James: "A month...at the end of the month you pay a check."
Cate: "Here comes the taxi."
Hugh: "Maybe they are taxing them to the airport."
At one point, a dramatic scene in the children's play occurs. A car speeds and falls off the bridge. Emergency personnel rush to the scene. Secret Service and Fire rescue workers apprehend the car that fell off the bridge. Personnel argue back and forth between Secret Service (Tommy) and Fire Rescue (Hugh) about what the consequences should be for the speeder. Secret Service seems to be in favor of taking the offender to jail but Fire is concerned first with the offender's safety. After a few back and forth exchanges and the conclusion that the offender is physically safe:
Hugh: "The Fire have to decide. Don't take him to jail because he was speeding because he thought he was going to miss the flight. So he just missed the parking."
Tommy: "Well...we at least need to give him a ticket because he was speeding."
Will and His Art Journal
Also available for open-ended exploration today were the art journals. While children were working in the other two areas, Will chose to spend some time working in his journal. He added items from his journal pocket, going through the stack and placing items one by one on the page, pausing, and seeming to think what would look right in the space on the page. He may have been thinking about composition or color. He also stenciled, at one point adding a '?' and an '!'. Will said, "I like them because I think they're kind of like a mystery...like on the TV. It like pops up."
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