Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jump Right In

When you encounter something new, what do you do? My kids are teaching me that it's okay to be fearless - to jump in and try something even if you are not sure what to do or how to do it.

We had chopsticks with pompoms in our classroom recently. None of my kids use chopsticks regularly (if at all). 

What I noticed throughout the morning is that every child tried this activity. Each of the children that came that day came to the table, sat down, and at least attempted to use the chopsticks to move pompoms.

Maybe they came because it was a new, unusual activity. Maybe they came because I was present, sitting at the table. Maybe they would have come anyway. Some came back after I had left that table for other areas. Several girls worked to divide the pompoms and count quantities.

Each one tried his own technique. I showed them how I could use them. (Not very well, by the way.) They would try to do what I did and they would try their own ideas.

Some worked for a while. Some moved one pompom and then left. Some tried for a short time and then moved on. But all of the kids in my room did this.

That's why I enjoy a play-based environment. Kids can try things, use their own ideas, adapt, move on. They can experiment and explore. They can choose to stay for a short time or a long time. They can jump in and try something they've never done before or choose to watch others or choose to do something else entirely.

I'm still figuring out this group. But I think they are fearless and independent thinkers. 

I'm going to try and emulate my young friends. I'm going to keep my eyes open to new ideas and experiences. I'm going to jump in and try things without thinking too much about how to do it. I'm going to continue to experiment and explore. I'm going to watch others do things and think about doing those things myself. I'm going to play.

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