Do you ever wonder what others think about you? Sometimes I do. And sometimes I worry that they think I'm crazy. Recently we did a "crazy" thing.
Usually when we have sand play, it looks like this.
But a few weeks ago, we did "free range sand play." Well, not exactly free range. But we did liberate the sand from its singular container. We put it on trays with tools available. (We did this once before.)
Kids played in more individual ways than cooperatively.
They did talk with one another. They did watch one another. They did experiment in some of the same ways, building on one another's ideas.
But I noticed that kids took different chances and explored their own ideas. They had space to experiment and try things, without having to worry about how their exploration impacted others.
The "mess" that resulted was not any more than it usually is in sand play. In fact, I think there was less sand on our drop cloth since several kids were not "wrestling" for space in the one container.
And, as I remember it, I had to do less guiding talk, reminding kids to keep sand over the container and helping referee play issues.
I think other teachers who saw this may have had a slight skip in their heartbeats. I wonder if they think I'm crazy to do this kind of stuff.
And maybe I am.
But a little crazy and a little danger can open up lots of learning possibilities.
(And I'm learning to care less about what others think, especially if it provides good learning experiences for kids.)