Sunday, February 5, 2012

Is there room for the unplanned in your schedule?

It was time for centers.  There were six special activities identified on our sign in board.
One boy had something else in mind.
And an empty round table to work on.
He carried a bin of wooden blocks to the table and worked quietly and determinedly by himself.

Within ten minutes, a couple classmates happen by.
"What are you building?"
 "I am building a city," he explains.

"I want to build with you!"
"Me, too!"
"We need more blocks," he explains.
And the two classmates went to get another bin of blocks.

With the three working so hard together, a city begins to appear.

And many more willing hands. And exclamations.
"We are building a city!"
"We can do it!"

"This is teamwork!"
"Look at this!  My city is growing!"
"It is our city! Our city!"
"It is going to be the biggest!"
"We need some help here!"
"We need more blocks!"

All our wooden blocks are now in play.

"Let's use these!"
The wooden blocks are used up.
The children race to get another bin, the plastic blocks.

And together,
and yet,
they add details to their own individual parts of the city.

Our entire 40 minute centers' time has been spent on this incredible city.  
Ten children working together at one once-empty round table.
Nearly half my class.

I want to let this work continue.
I want to honor it by letting it stay up.

Perhaps we can get back to it later in the day?
After playground? 
After lunch?
Yes, we'll use another table at lunch...

I walk over to the table and whisper,
"This is a fantastic city.  I like the work you are doing.  In a minute, we will put on the clean up song, but I was thinking..."
As if on cue, this table of preschoolers
acts as one
and topples the city,
sending all the blocks careening down,
over the table, onto the floor,
and one declares,
"Time to put them back in the bins! Clean up!"

Wow.  I didn't anticipate that.
I didn't anticipate any part of the entire forty minutes.
It was truly magical.
And these preschoolers
simply knew

they could create their city again.

1 comment:

  1. Yes!
    This happened not by magic, Maureen, but by your values. Your children have been facilitated by you. And you have nurtured friendship, engineering, imaginative play, dreaming, constructing, community building, caring, observation, a sense of story and a sense of purpose for all. You my dear, are the magic.