So many life lessons happen in the sand circle. The Seed playground continues to provide opportunities that serve as a microcosm of the way the world works. A brief time supervising the Early 3s during their Monday recess did just that.
During the pandemic we removed many of the pots and pans from the sand circle, separating them into bins so each class would have their own. The idea was that if each class had its own set of pots, pans, and spoons it would reduce cross-contamination for Covid exposure. After awhile, like the rest of the world, we relaxed our practices of limited sharing, allowing everyone to again use the same equipment on the playground. Although most of the separate bins of equipment made their way back to the sand circle, a few were still in classroom outdoor areas. Recently, they were brought to the playground, and it was such a wonderful addition. All of a sudden there was a surplus of new spoons, bowls, and pans, to everyone’s delight.
What I noticed was the new equipment created a mindset of enoughness. Instead of children arguing over just a few spoons, the surplus made it possible for almost everyone who wanted a spoon to have one. When a child wanted someone else’s pan to make a mud pie, we were able to find another pan. Additionally, in our sand area there is enough space for many children to create, explore, and expand their ideas to make something using natural materials. On Monday, all three children wanting to dig a hole were able to have their own. This allowed for peaceful play, side by side, with each child happily in control of their own creation.
Although there are benefits of shortages, in that they force those involved to be innovative and cooperative, there are benefits when everyone has enough. In everyday life it relieves the pressure to merely survive, and allows for the parts of life that nourish us as humans in other ways to come forth. In the sand circle it makes space for concentration on an idea and seeing it through without interruption. It’s a small thing, having a spoon with which to dig your own hole when you’re three, yet in the long run perhaps it sets the stage of knowing how it feels to be in a space of freedom and abundance. It’s something we specialize in at the Seed, giving children a felt sense of what it means to work in the realm of possibility.