Sunday, September 26, 2010

Overheard in the block corner

Fall visits to classrooms, full of 3 year olds and 4 year olds.

Outside, on the playground, we see a bulldozer/backhoe, working diligently, moving dirt, alongside a road. Preschoolers gather at the playground fence, in awe.

"See it push the dirt!"

"It is scooping the dirt! Like this!" and she digs her hand into the mulch, "See it has a scoop. Scoop!"
Several friends see how right she is, and bend down to scoop the mulch.

"Why is it scooping dirt?" I ask.

Many voices at once,
"It scoops the dirt!"
"To build a house!"
"To make a road!"
"To make a garden!"
"To scoop the dirt!"

We can't leave the fence. We are immersed in the construction work, entranced. The children look away only to bend down into the mulch and scoop, like the backhoe scoops the dirt.

Back inside, in the construction zone, many voices, many friends, working together:

"We have the trucks! It scoops the dirt!" and the preschoolers work to line up all the vehicles.

"I am building a house. You can build a house. Are you building a house?"
"No, a boat. See, this boat is carrying food down the river."
"There are firefighters and police nearby."
"Oh, I have a tall house! A tall house with slides and jumping places."
"Here, at my house, see - sisters, boys, Moms and Dads. We are visiting Grandma, with cake."

(One preschooler makes a siren sound, over and over) -
"What is that noise?," I ask, with a smile, "What's coming?"

"Birthday cake delivery, Ms. Maureen! Today is your birthday! Happy birthday to you!", and they begin singing the song.
"No, to me!" cries another,
"Okay, Happy birthday to you! Gotta go, birthday cakes going down the road."

Suburban preschools. City preschools. Anywhere USA.
Construction outside, construction inside. Building hopes and dreams.


  1. Maureen,
    You really captured a moment of authentic learning.
    It's filled with urgency, excitement, construction, joy, and of course...birthday cupcakes! Love it.

  2. Thanks, Marla,
    I am delighted to be present with these young learners - so engaged, so focused in their play. We should all be so happy in our work!