Today I listened and heard the sheer joy that was experienced by my preppies as they created a “wild rumpus”. This week we have been reading and rereading Maurice Sendak’s – Where the Wild Things Are. We have been reshaping our waterhole into the place where the wild things live and creating wild things using clay and collage (I’ll share this with you in a later blog) but today our learning went in a whole new direction. Due to a glitch in our classroom technology, I had to think on my feet, rethink what I wanted to do (which was an auditory memory activity) and got out our drums and rhythm sticks. We did lots of brain storming about how we can make different sounds using the instruments in different ways. The children shared and copied ideas on rhythm patterns (this is where I managed to achieve my auditory memoryoutcome) and in general had a great time. During play time we made some wild thing masks and as I was helping some of the children attach elastic to these masks, I began to hear the rhythm sticks being used. Then the drums began to play and the stomping of feet could be heard, as the “wild things” in their masks spontaneously began a wild rumpus.
Yes, it was noisy and loud, and yes, we were probably disturbing the class next door, but the sound was joyful and playful! The kind of sounds not heard often enough in our children’s classrooms. Were my wild things wild? Yes! Did they listen and copy each others rhythms as they experimented with different ways to dance and romp around? Yes! Was my original outcome achieved and enhanced? Yes! Did I as their teacher go over and tell them to stop or play more quietly? No! Instead I finished helping the rest of their children with their masks, put on my own, and asked if I could join in. Whilst our “wild rumpus” may not have been what I planned for us to be doing today, but we certainly did lots of playing and play is what we all………. not just children, need in our lives.
Which brings me to a link I came across today and thought…… what a coincidence that this should cross my path today! Whilst the speaker is talking about Bulgaria, the message he is sending is relevant for every country and everyone. Here is someone who expresses why play is sooo important not just for children but for everyone and that sadly play is becoming something that children are getting far too little time to do, yet alone adults. Our world is becoming time poor and so too are our children. My experience today with my preppies has demonstrated to me again, that play, either planned or spontaneous, is a pedagogy that can achieve and enhance mastery of educational outcomes.