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Determined to play, Destined to Learn

By: Kisha Reid & Morgan Dickerson K: One by one the tracks were laid. It was with experience Logan work. He balanced these very wood slats just a day ago. Still he focused in on the task as if it were new and novel. His protruding tongue is evidence of the care and determination he is using to place the pieces just so. Track, space, track space he followed a pattern arranging the slats to have equal peeks of red between them.

K: This same sense of determination and focus was observed over in the sand pit.

M: Theo gathered up the large wire rack, he placed it on his back to move it, then laid it down on the ground where he began creating something in a pan.

M: He went to lift both the rack that had the filled pan but wasn’t able to lift it up.

M: Not giving up on his idea, Theo found an alternative carrying device and brought the food over to me and said “here Morgan a cake for you” with a huge smile. I asked him what kind of cake he made and he said “watermelon” I asked what was in the cake and he said “watermelon sand”.

K: Theo was able to alter his plan in a way that made his idea of transporting the heavy cake work. This flexibilty, can do attitude, and quick thinking is a bi product of child-directed play. The possibilities are endless and what is viewed as failure traditionally is nothing but another opportunity to try it again at Discovery. This lack of pressure or judgement sets the tone for children who

are willing to take risks, shift gears, and alter their original idea to fit new circumstance. The original transportation plan proved to be awkward to maneuver so Theo had to identify the problem then identify a solution that held different traits to the first carrying device.

K: A discarded grill sparks an idea in Leia, she Inadvertently stepped on the crate as she traveled across the pit. It was on uneven ground and rebounded causing Leia for feel a bounce. This feeling sparked an idea. She dropped

to her knees and began digging. Soon she was joined by other children.

K: Once the “big hole” was dug up Vida put the grate on top. The other children flooded on top just as she said “ now we can jump” they all jumped “yay! Harlie said as she bounced.

K: They called this their trampoline.



M: Logan prepared a soup, he scooped up some sand into a bowl, found a stick for stirring, stirred then brought over to feed me. He went around offering soup to others as well.

M: Then he used the folding stool to place his soup on top of. He manage to carry both items in his arms and hands and prop it fully open.

K: So much transporting, which is a schema seen as an urge in children’s play. These urges are a child innate way to gather deep understanding. In this case a child is downloading ideas about weight, capacity, size, and measurement. They are also working their large and fine muscles and using core control to lift and move heavy containers. As they work with water and sand both individually and combined they are discovering how the two mediums alter and change as they come together.


M: Large scoop for the large pot and small scoop for the small pot.




K: The children have a lot of ideas about how to get the water out of the bucket.





K: Logan added a pvc pipe to the folding chair. He leaned it down in an incline.

K: Ben observed with interest as Logan walked a dinosaur up the ramp.

He sat next to the top and placed a car at the top, he let go allowing the car to go speeding down the ramp.

K: This became a shared expereince as Ben and Logan repeated this action “awwww, they shouted in unison as the cars traveled town. “ cars, cars!” Logan exclaimed.


M: Brooklyn directed Leia and Vida in helping her move the tire bucket Contraption. At first she wanted it to be moved so Vida and Liea pulled together dragging the contraption. Then Brooklyn informed them to stop. She quickly changed her mind and invited them to grab a piece of the rope and do “ring around the Rosie”.

After the brief game, Brooklyn yelled “let’s go guys, let’s make a pie for my mother”.

M: As Brooklyn worked on her pie, Leia made a cake. Which she shared with Vida later on.


K: Playing the role of the director is good practice for Brooklyn to have some leadership. Having opportunities to lead a group contributed to developing a sense of pride. Brooklyn seemed to enjoy this role. I will observe for her making opportunities to lead in her play and facilitate opportunities if the need arises.


M: Vida started “planting seeds” Theo was nearby and asked to join, Vida accepted. Discussing how you have to get the soil first then Put holes in and add the seeds then pat it down and wait for them to grow. Theo snd vida worked together planting their seeds.


K: Tomorrow I will provide soil and seeds and invite Vida and her peers to plant.


M: Leia said this was a “sled” Theo got on and Leia tried to pull, Vida noticed her struggling and grabbed a hold and started pulling too. They agreed when someone was on it it wouldn’t move.

K: This corner of the room has become a little nook for play. The children use the hallow blocks to enclose it.

M: Theo’s rock collection, he wanted to add them all to the new habitat for the hermit crabs but that many would be too crowed and he was able to select 3 rocks to add in.

K: Fresh paint is always fun because the children get to see how mixing two familiar colors can make totally new and interesting shades and tones.




K: Art is someting that comes from the hands mind and soul of the artist.


I have seen “ART” projects completed like sweat shops where children are called up one by one to stand in the shadow of an adult who hand over hand controls the whole process with the end goal of creating a cookie cutter protect to hang up and send home as a receipt that something is happening at that place.


It may be “ the way it has always been done” or “ what the parents want” but is it the RIGHT way to nurture the creative spirit that lives in every child? Is it the Right way for a child to meet the sensory needs, the need for autonomy, the chance to practice complex planning and thinking ? For the child the learning is in the process.



M: Logan and Ben gathered up kitchen items tossing them into the bin, creating a “learning pile”, after they collected the items they tossed them back out.


K: Harlie brought me over the guitar and asked me to sing. A few strums of the strings and a crowd had surfaced. They came accompanied by stuffed animals. I used the animals as a springboard for the characters in my songs and stories.


K: We have a guitar for for the teachers and one for the children to explore all of the parts of. Brooklyn played the children's guitar as I played mine.

K: We got so into our dancing and story telling that we almost missed Forest time!

K: Hanging out on a branch that the children have begun perching on. As we get to know the forest, the children are discovering its possibilities, becoming more exploratory, and gaining confidence.

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