Sunday, February 27, 2011

It doesn't take a cape to make a super hero

I truly love working with young children, often what they say stays with me for a long time, and give me food for thought.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

Scott (names changed), is one of "my kids", meaning first I was his Toddler teacher, then he and I moved up t the next age group together, and now he's in the 4 to 5  year group, so we've been dialoguing together off and on for 2 years. So in the past summer, he was visiting my group, and we were getting ready to go outside, and he observed my feet, in sandals and said, "I see you have dry skin on your feet.", which I acknowledged. Next he said "I hate dry skin, yuck". I explained I should use lotion on my feet, but sometimes I get busy and forget.

So, a couple of weeks later,  we were walking outside to our play yard, and Scott said, "I see you still have dry skin on your feet", and I replied "I forget to put lotion on my feet.", and Scott said "If I lived with you I would remind you to put lotion on your feet."

I think this was sweet for several reasons, partly because of who he is, and also makes me remember, that our children invest much thought into their lives, including their teachers, and we need to remember the importance we hold in their lives, and try to insure respect for the sacred bond between child and teacher.
( Personal reminder, don't forget feet in personal regimen, children don't miss a thing.)


Guido, has a love of superheros, and robots. When he first entered my group 1 1/2 years ago, we played robots with blocks, we drew robots, we read about robots, and we built a wonderful box robot, and soon became fast friends. Guido is now moved up to the next age group, but often visits, based on the day, so he will often want to be a super hero, and want to engage me and his friends in super hero play.He's extremely inventive, and will sometimes enter my room, already in his hero persona, and fly about the room.

At our center we have a " no weapons play" rule, and based on individual staff preferences " no super hero" rule, because it can move into rough play.  I usually am for this rule especially with the older kids, who are physically strong and could hurt someone if engaging in a super hero battle. In Guido' case he is quite persistant in his play, and will give good reasons supporting his play. Such as, "Guido remember 'no super heroes at daycare',  and Guido might reply 'I'm a good super hero, I save people'.

He sometimes will want a scarf or doll blanket, tied at his neck for a cape, to which I will say 'No super hero capes in daycare Guido', and one day he said something so awesome, "It doesn't take a cape to make a super hero', which I think I might someday make into a poster and put up in my room.

I recently read some research on boys' play needs and think maybe super hero play does need to be expressed.How do other centers, and preschools deal with super hero , and other potentially rough play? Am I in the dark ages here, when placing this play off limits? Part of me thinks so.

Well, that's all for now, although with Guido's sayings  alone I could probably write a book.



child central station said...


I think there is a lot of merit to super hero, good vs evil, weapons play. Children make weapons out of everything. They are trying to make sense of the things in their world. There is a lot of great stuff out there... Hop on over to Teacher Tom's blog, he writes some great stuff.... and check out what you can from Dan Hodgins. He has a book "Boys, Boys, Boys" that you will probably find very useful!

Early Childhood Education and Common Sense said...

Thanks Amy, for checking in with me, I will look at these two sources, I have been looking in at Teacher Tom's blog, and will look for his thoughts on this. I'm learning how different the wiring is for little boy's brains as compared to girls, and how most teaching method's are geared more to the way girls learn. So I'm interested in what other child care professionals feel about hero play.

When it comes to weapon play, I tend to feel it's important to teach that weapons hurt people, and to limit this play, but I want to be open to new ideas.

Geraldine said...

Love the footie story! Scot sounds like one special young man. Hugs, G