Monday, December 12, 2011

Just hanging out together

Just hanging out together: I had a great day with the children, in my small group, at the daycare center where I work. We went outside to play in the morning, and so spent the afternoon just hanging out together. I always sense a time in the year, when I know my children are truly feeling comfortable with me, and one another. It's like a small turning point.

Suddenly the emotional climate becomes more relaxed, and the children start really playing together in small groups, sometimes barely noticing that I'm in the room with them. Now and then one or two, or a group will join me, and we'll work on a puzzle together, or read together.

This is a floor puzzle we've been enjoying this past week.

This is what I've been working towards all fall, the moment when I can almost hear a gentle "humming" in the air, of young minds working, and growing, and becoming themselves.It is my reward, for all the planning, and room arranging, and coaching of my kids.

So, today in the afternoon, my children and I spread out throughout the room - three playing a game involving the "Grinch" (a small boy in a small Santa suit, considers himself to be the grinch when dressed this way); two children and I working on puzzles; one child playing farm animals; one building blocks; and one playing cars. And we really played in a focused way like this for about 40 minutes!

Now and then a child might go to the table to draw, and another might go to open a book, and "read" it. It just does my "teacher's" heart so good, to see my children playing in a relatively "civilized" way with one another, and making choices for themselves, to go and read or draw, and then return to the more active play. I think they are "self-regulating" - an important skill every person needs.(I don't mean to be derogatory about my children when I say that they were playing in a "civilized" way, but in a way the play of very young 2 year olds sometimes feels abit "uncivilized". They tend to be self centered, and it is hard for them to learn to see others as people with rights like themselves - so there can be hitting, and other aggression. but as the children mature, it does seem more "civilized".)

Sometimes it seems that my groups of children tend to come together, and feel like a "family", after some kind of event, or challenge. Sometimes this might be an outing to the museum; or to the water spray park, in the summer. We had a small Christmas party on Friday - nothing big, but just special enough. I feel that may account for the group feeling more cohesive today.

My children enjoyed putting their own marshmallows in their hot chocolate :)

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