Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Outside materials: What will you create?

Outside time is a favorite of ours at Tumbleweed. It is a time for running, jumping, playing, laughing, and overall just pure bliss-- breathing in the fresh air with the friends we love. During this time, there are a lot of activities in place between groups or even individual play. Incredibly detailed games give ample opportunities for children to collaborate together and make situations work to everyone's advantage.

What's my job? 
Where can I place this piece of wood? 
What is my role in our game?

A table set for a dinner that is being made, filled with food, drinks, and a center piece looks so enticing!

A fort or home is built using wooden materials, carefully constructed to fit the needs of those inside. Who's home is this? It is during these times when us as teachers are able to see how much work and imagination goes into these games, structures, and roles the children create. The materials we have outside are always available and are ever-changing and evolving. There is no right or wrong way to use an item in the backyard, as long as they follow the guidelines of our agreements we made together as a community.

When we are able to utilize the full extent of our imagination without limitations, we are able to be ourselves fully. Outside material allow the children to create exactly what they need when they need it. A long board can be a path over a pit of fire, making us test our balance as we run across it. Or a see-saw, turning into a mathematical equation of how many people need to be on one side to make it lift up. The limits are endless, and everyday is a new chance to create, imagine, and wonder what we can use the materials for next.

As the year progresses on and the children get older and more mature, so do the games they play. We start to notice that the games continue on for days, sometimes weeks. The structures and items used are wanting to be saved for the next time they're outside, jobs are needed to be formed for others that want to join in the game in progress. Problem-solving skills become more apparent and are starting to be used in these times, creating ample opportunities for the Tumbleweed Preschool community to come together to think of a solution.

How can we involve everyone and still keep our game/structure intact? How can we best communicate our needs and feelings when we are unable to use a material that is already in use elsewhere? Its during these times as a teacher I get the most excited. Seeing the children work through a tricky situation by themselves is such a rewarding feeling.

Outside time will always be one of my favorites as a teacher. These are the times where the children socialize, compromise, and problem-solve the most, which are all valuable traits that will make their journey outside Tumbleweed that much easier to navigate through.

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