Thursday, March 24, 2016

All We Ever Really Need

A play-based curriculum arises from the world around us, every day, in every common occurrence. 

Last week, we got a pair of new toilets. We crowded around the doorway to watch one, then another be carried past the classroom doorway on a hand truck. We discussed how toilets work, the toilets at our own homes, and other toilets we have known and used.

We went in small groups to watch the plumber at work, removing the old toilets, then setting the new ones. We asked questions which he gladly answered. He told us that his own son, when he was five, intentionally stopped up the toilet at his school so his dad would have to come fix it. We promised we wouldn't do that with these new ones.

We got to look down into the hole in the floor where all our bodily wastes go. The older kids thought this experience would be too frightening for the little kids. Later, maybe because we ourselves were a little frightened, we cracked ourselves up with jokes about toilets.

When the plumber left, we got to use those new toilets. We either approved or felt they were about the same as the old ones.

Later, we found that he had left one of the boxes the toilets came in so we played with with it. We climbed inside and out, the thick cardboard sufficient to hold the weight of a child, putting it through its paces. Now, about a week later, the box is flattened, outdoors, covered in splats of turquoise and magenta paint.

Forget the toys and the games and the adult planning about what we should be learning: the real world is all we ever really need.

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Nerd Girl said...

Our facility recently got a portable sink. It came in a very large cardboard box. The kids in my class played with it every day until it completely fell apart, often not bringing in any additional toys. Amazing the power of a cardboard box and imagination.

Laurie said...

Whenever we're lucky enough to need a visit from the plumber ;-) I make sure to tell the children that plumbers have probably saved more lives than doctors! The plumbers love to hear this appreciation, because as a society we don't reflect often enough on the value of good public health and plumbing.

Greg said...

No matter how many cool and interesting toys and games we have in our program the most popular items for school age children are cardboard, fabric, recycled materials and some method to attach them together. The children really love making new and creative things and never stop coming up with new ideas for the same material.