Saturday, May 05, 2012

What We Do In School

Today I want to write about this photograph.

It was a picture I took by accident the other day. It shows a segment of our outdoor classroom in action from the perspective of our workbench. In the foreground you see a couple of girls riding their stick ponies. Those stick ponies are outdoors every day, mainstays of our school, abused by the weather, their fabric heads probably damp from the last rain storm. The girls are engaged in an adventure story they are spinning together, probably about princesses. You see they're moving from one level to the next, I'm guessing they're on their way up into the lilacs, perhaps to the top of the concrete slide.

Behind them is a boy, digging through a tub that is perched on the edge of the sand pit. He's holding a piece of pipe insulation in one hand, which the kids mostly use as fire hoses. There are some toy fire fighter helmets in that box as well, which is probably what he's looking for. Unlike the stick ponies, the box has only been out there for a few days, ever since our field trip to the local fire station. There is another group of boys you can't see in this picture. They're already wearing helmets and holding hose. This boy is preparing himself to enter their game.

Up behind the trees there at the top of the hill, you'll see two children at the cast iron water pump. One is holding a bucket in which he's been collecting "jewels" (florist marbles). The other is pumping water. They appear to be engaged in a conversation. I know that washing the jewels has been a self-selected activity lately, so it might be about that. One of our parent-teachers is making her way up there, perhaps anticipating some sort of conflict and so putting herself in a position to help them through it, but probably just heading to where the children are to be nearby.

There on the left edge of the photo, you'll see a couple boys testing themselves on some of the planks we've placed as bridges to create a more challenging way to move between the upper to the lower levels of the classroom. One of them appears to be approaching cautiously while the other seems to have already completed his traverse, perhaps having inspired his friend to give it a try.

There are more than a dozen other kids and 5-6 other adults you don't see in this snapshot of what we do in school.

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1 comment:

Julie said...

They say a picture tells a thousand words! Imagine all those speech and thought bubbles that could come out of one snapshot of children's play. Thank you for sharing that wonderful learning. I'm so jealous, though, looking at an outdoor area like that! We have a tiny yard with practically no shade - 1 little tree! It's so hard to create the possibilities that I would love to do in a different outdoor environment.

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