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.
"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