Thursday, April 02, 2020

A Place to Escape Into the Comfort of Humdrum

It's important to escape sometimes. That's one of the reasons why every classroom needs a place where children can hide, preferably a darker quieter place, a place where the pirates can't get you. In our classroom it was a crawlspace under our loft. Sometimes children would squeeze in there together, giggly, sweaty, but most of the time it was a place for a single child to be in their own world.

Janet Zwieg

There should be places like this outdoors as well, off the radar hideouts suitable for an individual child to get away.

A couple blocks from my apartment there's a small city park, not much bigger than a suburban backyard. It's mainly intended as a place for downtown workers to eat a sandwich in the middle of their day, although there is a small concrete slide built into the landscaping. There are two patches of lawn, one actual grass, while the other is a bright green pool of artificial turf. The glass towers rise around it like those in the Emerald City for which our actual city, Seattle, is nicknamed.

The park has no name. Or rather, it takes on a new name every day based upon the machinations of a pair of transit-like signs set on tall poles. Each day the signs change, giving the park two new names based upon fictional places. The tall, blue sign bears a place name from literature, film, television, comics, or games intended for adults, while the shorter, yellow sign wears the name of a fictional place created for children.

Only a few weeks ago, this small park was a well-used place, especially as spring was just showing its fresh-aired face, but yesterday as I sat on a bench, musing upon the places promised by those signs, I was all alone. It took me a second to remember why. For a moment I'd forgotten: I'd escaped.

It's important to escape sometimes, especially now when, at least for the time being, there is no escape. This park will be full again with people evading the marauding pirates of their computer screens, their colleagues, their desks, chairs, and walls. But now it's a place to escape into the comfort  of humdrum for brief moments, a place where gathering together is once more as commonplace as can be.


And now, another in my series of short videos for parents who find themselves suddenly homeschooling their preschoolers. I'm making these videos for parents. If you're a teacher, please feel free to share it with the parents of the children you teach. If you want to watch all of my tips videos, look at the bottom of previous posts here on the blog, or visit the Teacher Tom TV YouTube channel:

I hate to do this, but I earn most of my income by speaking at education conferences and running in-person workshops. I've just had 95 percent of my income wiped out for the next 6 months. I know I'm not the only one living with economic insecurity, but if you like what you read here, please consider hitting the donation button below. 

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