I know I write about playground duty quite often. It’s a rich source of stories to share. On Monday I did back-to-back coverage for both preschool and elementary. Although they were separate recesses, surprisingly similar themes emerged. During the preschool recess, one of the three-year-olds walked by me carrying a pan and said, “I have an ant in here. I’m going to give it to life.” He proceeded to walk away from me, intent on doing something to support the ant’s life.
Meanwhile, in the area outside of Gwen’s Castle, a large group of children was playing with the collection of cardboard boxes left there from Saturday’s school picnic. They were enthusiastically building structures and towers, piling the boxes up and letting them fall. Something else was going on, which I found out about later from the staff member supervising the area. Children were taking turns getting inside a box, pretending to be a chick hatching from its egg. No doubt, this play was inspired by the recently hatchlings in the kindergarten class. Several classes were able to see them, which was quite exciting. The child inside the box pecked at it, and then a child in line would lift the lid. Sometimes the “chick” would say they weren’t quite ready, and eventually they’d come out. Kids were lined up to take a turn. I loved how they were reenacting a specific stage of the life cycle.
Finally, when the elementary students came out for their recess, several of them found moths, a few dead and one or two alive. A group of girls spent their entire recess creating a habitat for their living moth. It’s always gratifying that children engage in these activities spontaneously, looking out for creatures and using their whole selves to take ownership of their learning. It’s a steady reminder of the value of play, which is a significant part of our program for children of all ages. It’s one way children process life, and in a way, it’s how they give themselves to life.