Monday, October 14, 2013

It Wasn't My Job

Problem solving: that's one of the things we all expect out of education. And our classroom, always, belongs to the children.

We were playing with blocks, cardboard tubes and tennis balls last week. The balls go everywhere. I used to spend a lot of time talking about how "I want the balls on the checkerboard rug." For the past couple of years, I've not said a thing. Now the balls go where the balls go. And you know where the balls wind up? That's right, on the checkerboard rug.

At Woodland Park we don't indulge the children; we trust them.

Sometimes the balls roll underneath furniture. I used to line up blocks to reduce this possibility. The children, when left to their own devices, have always dismantled them. Losing a few balls under the furniture is simply something that's going to happen when we play with blocks, tubes, and balls.

Every year, someone -- it could be a 2-year-old, it could be a 5-year-old -- notices the balls under the furniture. First they try to retrieve the balls with their hands, but there are always a few that are just out of reach. They then figure out how to use a long thin "tool" to chase them out. Every year, without exception, we have accepted this challenge and made this discovery. When I was growing up, I thought that's why yardsticks existed; I still keep a couple around the place for this purpose.

Last week, however, we used a broom handle. It would have been easy for me to do, but it wasn't my job.

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