Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"We Did It"

Last month I mentioned a small, hearty plant that had grown up through the wood chips on our playground. A plant in the outdoor classroom is no big deal, but this one had caught our attention because it seemed to be surviving right in the middle of an area in which we play quite a bit.

We found it extraordinary. We'd tried protecting it with a ring of rocks, but it was a protective measure that had to be redone each day, as other children, not aware of the plant, would nick this or that, or simply kick the rocks away inadvertently. Or sometimes it would be an adult who removed our construction, seeing it as an unnecessary tripping hazard, being there as it was right in the middle of a fairly major throughway, ringing what looked like a weed. Nevertheless, almost every day during the second half of March and the beginning of April, some group or other of us took a moment to build a "fence" around it, not always of rocks; sometimes we made it of sticks or blocks or even just mounds of wood chips. 

The brothers Finn and Grey, in particular, took a moment each day to check in with the plant, not always taking part in the fence building, but always concerned about the project of keeping our foundling plant alive: watering it, worrying about how it was going to get sun, calling me over to take part in a little meditative circle around it, asking questions like, "Why it growing here?" and "Why it green?" The boys are into the big "Why?" questions. And better yet, they really listen to the answers you give them, so it's important to be as accurate as possible. Not that it isn't always important for teachers to give children precise, true answers, but the brothers keep you on your toes because unlike many children their age they don't just ask: they remember every detail of your answer, and call you on it later if it turns out you were wrong. 

They have been in the "Why?" question "phase" for as long as I've known them, these twin brothers, so long in fact that it can't be called a phase. It seems to simply be a wonderful part of who they are. They're tinkerers to the tips of their fingers, always looking to take the world apart and put it back together, taking direct action to satisfy their driving curiosities. They are questioners to the depths of their souls, always asking "Why?" And when you answer, "I don't know," they get to work on it for themselves. Almost every day one or the other of them comes to me with a sentence that starts, "Look what I figured out . . ."

On Monday, our first day back from spring break, Grey came to get me all the way down at the bottom of the hill. "Come, Teacher Tom."

I was busy and didn't respond as quickly as he wanted. "Teacher Tom, I want to show you something!"

I began to follow him up the hill, but there were a lot of kids along the way, and I got diverted several times. Each time Grey waited for me to look his way, then repeated, "I want to show you something."

Finally, we made it to the top of the hill, up past the swings. "Look!" He was pointing at our plant, unprotected, but now in bloom, a dozen small blue bell-shaped flowers on stems that had grown during the week we were away. I said, "It's blooming."

He answered, "We did it."

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Deborah@Teach Preschool said...

Ha ha - Just in the middle of the yard? That's beautiful! I can imagine you being just as curious as your two little twins when you were little:)

Anonymous said...

Ah, our little bluebell, a hybrid of an English and Spanish bluebell. It is very persistent, nearly impossible to get rid of, perfect for your play area. You will have more.

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