Friday, November 8, 2013

The POWER in and of PLAY

   As I sift through our photos from our past weeks at NLA I remember the conversations and the way the play and learning so naturally occurred.  Sometimes the children come in with a plan for their play asking for the materials they need to create, "Ms. Joy I need tape," or "I need string."  Sometimes play gets shaped by the amazing items found in nature.  This is my favorite play to observe!  And yes sticks become weapons.  It is about power and figuring it all out.  Power is something the children are experimenting with....super powers and super heroes!  

Sometimes the testing and experimenting of power is directed at us as parents.  Yes, they will test you and there will be power struggles, but knowing they are all normal parts of learning your place in this world helps to not take it personally and to know it is actually healthy!   

   Most of the "play" time is spent getting ready for the play or "setting the stage".   Gathering the items needed, determining who is going to be "included" in the play and making the rules for the play takes time and space.  This is where the magic happens! There is so much learning that happens here!  This is also where a multi-age group of children offers so much more!  

 Sometimes feelings may get hurt as children are excluded from play (sometimes it's the younger children that are left out).  With gentle reminders we can help get the right message across in a kinder fashion and we can also help the child with the hurt feelings have a voice! There is such power in learning to say "No, I don't like that," or "Stop, I don't want to be chased." So good to learn to have a strong voice at an early age, don't you think?  Communicating our needs clearly is needed in every relationship our entire lives! 
 It is a best for the children to try and resolve conflicts in play by themselves if it is possible (again a huge part of the learning process), but helping a child with the "words" is something we can do by not speaking for them, but just being there to help them along.    I remind my OWN older children there are nicer, kinder ways to ask for things that you want or need and they just work BETTER!  

     I had a conversation with a parent recently about teaching children to be "tactful" with their words.  Children are honest and they just say what they feel in the moment without a filter (one of the things I really love about them).  It takes lots of practice to learn to get your point across without being hurtful and sometimes as adults we even struggle with this!  We are not born with filters....we learn how social dynamics work as we use our social skills.   Give them time, practice and lots of gentle reminders!  

 We celebrated Fall by making yummy Pumpkin bread and muffins.

 We wore our costumes,

 and decorated pumpkins too!

 We created with corks and play dough and colors!

 And we did some cutting!  

We enjoyed being outside with friends,

and we shared.

Sweet Quotes: 

"The chilly (it was a blustery day) keeps blowing the leaves around."~ Jack

"There are treasure sticks down there."~ Devin

Talking to his Mom about NLA.... "I learn and I don't even know it."~Holden 

"I'm a camping Princess."~Kayden 

Next week we will be making a small Fall Scarecrow for the garden!   

Upcoming events: 

RSVP for our Parent Chat November 23rd at 10:45 AM (location address to come).  We will discuss the Homeschool NLA possibilities and much more I am sure!

December 7th is our Family Holiday Party at Sher's house!  More info and food sign-ups to come! 

Have a great weekend!  Ms. Joy is off to PLAY (camping Princess just like Kayden)....a weekend camping trip at Enota Mountain Retreat in Hiawassee, GA.    I am hoping to do a NLA camping trip (there are cabins there too) at Enota when it gets warmer.  It is a super child friendly place with so much to do! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vigorous Play!

  We have been loving our Fall weather at NLA! So much fun to experience the change in weather and how it naturally changes our play and exploration.  The change in season offers us new colors, new smells and lots of new things to explore.  I am still amazed by the changes in seasons and love to experience it all through the eyes and excitement of your children.  

  We are together for three short hours each day at NLA, but I am forever amazed by the amount of activity we cover during our short time together.  We use our whole bodies to move and think and discover and we have lots of space to run free.  

  In "A Natural Sense of Wonder" by Rick Van Noy the author describes his after school "play" experience (after changing into"play" clothes of course).  This reminds me of how we play at NLA.  "In these magical spaces, limits were tested, roles were played (or assigned), bonds were formed with each other and with those places.  Bodies grew strong, imaginations stretched, time suspended.  Vigorous play, where have you gone?"  I love that as a group we are continuing to allow our children the opportunity for open-ended, free ranging and VIGOROUS play!  No need to change clothes either....we always have our play clothes on...ready for our new adventures!  Our play this week included

 A Fall Scavenger hunt.  We searched for signs of Fall....

We found colored leaves, acorns, rocks, moss and feathers. We also discovered poop and tried to figure out what it come from. Some of the guesses were "a wolf,  Ms. Joy's dog, a deer or a coyote."

 We did some much needed raking,

We did lots of swinging, 

 we explored with water beads,

 we did some building and 

 creating with playdough too! 

Our market was OPEN selling lots of vegetables.... 

and a few minutes later the market became a Police Station too! 

We made glittery fairy wands. 

 We were Scientists too conducting our Milky fireworks experiment!

 We painted and we even wrote some too....

 We gathered and rested and shared quiet time and good food....

 and we shared a little too!

  All in a day's WORK at NLA! 

Welcome to our new happy you joined us!

This week:

 NO Apple orchard this week!  We will meet as usual and let you know our next date for field trip.