Sunday, May 17, 2015

Reflections of Life: A Doctor Story

 At the preschool house we indulge ourselves in the wildest dreams of our imaginations on a regular basis. We are ninjas sneaking from hiding spot to hiding spot. We are sisters planning the most mundane and fantastical adventures. We go to ballet class. We are teachers on a lunch break. We are ship captains on the open sea. We are so many, many things- and all in the span of a few hours (or even less!). These stories that we create through play let us explore so many concepts. We can feel safe testing, failing, and succeeding in the confines of our limitless imaginations. They also let us process our own everyday lives. Often our play is a reflection of life itself. Recently, a few of our children had doctor appointments for various things. Some needed routine check ups, some were seen for possible illness... but all of them needed to process: How do doctors work to heal people or keep them from getting sick? What are the differences between a patient and a doctor? What happens when you go to the doctor?

The doctors check the patient's leg for any injuries.
As I watched the doctor play that occurred over the span of several days I noticed a few things. For the children the roles of doctor and patient were fluid. As soon as you finished being treated, you could become a doctor! You had just been taken care of by other doctors so now you, too, could take care of new patients! However, this doesn't mean you couldn't get sick again. A doctor totally gets sick. What does being sick mean, though? Usually in these scenarios it meant you needed surgery! Surgery didn't necessarily mean that you needed to be cut open, though. Maybe you just needed to lie down on the table while the doctors worked on you and took lots of pictures. However, to read those pictures you need to go to another room. It was interesting to see how much of the doctor play was based on factual information about heading to the doctor. Each child's own experience changed the narrative of the play as the days went by. Some kids received vaccinations recently so they knew all about those- both the kind that comes in needles and the kind you can breathe in. Some kids have broken a bone before so they knew all about x-rays and scans. Each child's own individual experience worked together to form the rich, complex rules of doctor play. Below I've included one dialog I was able to capture from this play. 

LC: He's bleeding a lot so how sick is he?
AS: He's sick for a lot of days so he can't go to school.
LC: Well there's a doctor school you can go to when you are sick for lots of days.
AS: Yeah! You can go to the doctor school, JK.
LC: Okay! We need to look at the science thing to check out his body. You other doctors wait here while I check out his body.
EK: LC! LC! We need to fix him!
LC: Okay JK! You're fixed!
JK: Thanks doctor!
LC: Okay JK! We are dong doctoring you. Next patient please! JK are you a doctor or a scientist now?
JK: A doctor! 

The doctors confer about the best treatment for the patient. Dr. LC looks back to the "dark room" to read a recent x-ray.

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