As I was moving into my new classroom during pre-planning, summer camp for the school age students was going on in my new class room. I had the unique opportunity to observe some of my former students engaged in play using similar materials they had played with just a few years ago. As I watched, I realized how their play had grown. The imaginary scenarios they envisioned were much more complex and detailed that it had been when they were in Pre-K. I relished the few moments I stood there and observed. Because I've been around their play for such a long time, they continue in my presence without changing as they might with a new observer. Occasionally, they stopped to fill me in on their excitement with their buildings and play. I realized then what a gift it was to be able to see them engaged this way in play, years after their Pre-K experience with me. I realized I had to get some pictures of this, even if just for myself. By the time I had gone to get my camera and returned, they were in the midst of cleaning up. I promised myself if I had another opportunity that week, I would try to be ready. Later, I did get another opportunity to see them in action again. This time, they used the big hollow wooden block to build and air hockey table and were using the road signs as paddles!
I also observed them playing with these need interlocking ...blocks, tracks, I'm not really sure what they are, but they're pretty cool. We didn't have these in my old classroom, so I enjoyed watching the kids build ramps and tracks and roll marbles and matchbox cars down them at varying slopes.
I wondered how my new little group of Pre-K kids would explore with these new materials. Would they build slopes and ramps? It will be interesting to see how their play progresses through the year. For now, here's how they are using them...built in circular tracks. Who knows where the play will take them this year? Only time will tell. (But I can't wait to watch along the way!)
I have been teaching early childhood for about 20 years. I love what I do---it's the best job in the world!!! Where else can you go to work each day and do art, play games, have snack and get hugs regularly AND get paid for it?! I love to share ideas with other teachers and see what they are doing in their classrooms. Teaching is the best profession---we love to share!