Today was such a delicious day. The day flew by. It zipped right by without me noticing the time or praying for the time to please move faster. Spending the day with tykes is my passion. I sing songs with gusto and I get competitive when we are building block towers. I secretly love to count how many goldfish crackers I can stack on my tongue without anyone noticing. I do NOT share my lavender play dough. It doesn’t matter how much those little eyes spy and covet my lavender and very clean play dough. Their play dough becomes hairy and gross and slimy. There are precious few things that are tyke proof and my lavender play dough is one of them…. Let’s be a smidge honest here. As much as working with preschoolers is my passion, there comes a time when working with tykes is work and I watch the clock like a hawk .
Today was not a hawk watching day. Today, I was totally immersed in this conversation and that conversation when I realized that for this brief moment, the room had finally transformed into a Reggio inspired version of the “third teacher”……Did I capture this moment? You betcha and Bob’s your uncle I did.
The concept of the room being the “third teacher” is pretty awesome. A child’s first teacher is their parent. Their academic teacher is their second teacher. A well stocked room that invites a child to explore and experiment and create is their third teacher. The Reggio Emilia and Montessori philosophy are built on the foundational belief that the child is very capable of learning on their own with the right tools and a teacher who will guide them to learn new knowledge when they are ready without having a set agenda or lesson plan. The “lesson plans” are the age appropriate activities and supplies that the child uses freely. I have been working towards this goal since 2010, so I was ecstatic today to get a glimpse of all that work fall into place. Happy Face….Happy Dance….:)
Here’s what I was blessed to capture in digital form:
A child demonstrating nurture and compassion and empathy at twenty-four months. She sat in our cozy corner for a good thirty minutes singing and rocking and making sure her baby dinosaur was warm and comfy. This was significant because this child normally holds the baby dolls by their feet, always takes their clothes off….ALWAYS…..and tosses them aside when she is bored with the strength of a baseball pitcher. Today this was real for her. Today she demonstrated such sweet emotion and tenderness and I had a hard time keeping my focus from distracting her and intruding on such a sweet scene…..
These two are my spit-fires. They are twenty-two and almost nineteen months old. They have been connected at the hip since they could barely crawl. If you saw one, the other one was near by. They are partners in crime and keep me on my toes and my heart melted daily. They have discovered the joy of tossing bowls down to hear them spin. To them, spinning bowls is better than extra cookies and getting into the diaper wipe box while I’m not looking. I had to hide the wood bowls and put out these plastic ones to keep all our ear drums from bursting and our nerves from exploding. They practice their new magic trick several times a day. SEVERAL TIMES A DAY…..I have to remind myself that they are learning and exploring and that this is wonderful and so very meaningful and valuable…..In all honesty, it is meaningful and valuable. The wonderful part is probably a stretch….They are practicing to see if the results will remain constant and if how they throw the bowls will change the sound or the spinning. Serious research is going on with these two precious rascals.
These little blue containers are actually a sensory activity. There are two bottles filled with rice, two with beans, and two with nothing. The tykes are to listen to the bottles and match them up with the bottle that has the same sound. Today, however, they became spy glasses for the older tykes who are also best buddies. They spied a squirrel in the yard, snow falling, my tree stump, and various cars passing by the house. They discovered that it was easier to see things outside than inside and decided it was because the sun was outside and not inside. They also found out that colors look different when viewing them through the blue containers, and that if they looked through them lengthwise, they could see more. These two learned a lot today with vet medicine bottles on our observation deck….pretty smart cookies!
So….there you have a glimpse into our organized chaos…So much was explored and experimented with and enjoyed and we didn’t use a single worksheet or flashcard….The day zipped by and it was in fact, a delicious, non-hawk clock watching day….:):):)
Until next time,