[I've been a little inconsistent in recent weeks with my participation in Two Writing Teachers' Tuesday Slice of Life...but, today I have one to offer...here goes!]
This afternoon, I observed such a delightful interaction.
It was just about "going home time," a restless, uneven time of day when some children are in a post-nap fog and others are loud and wiggly. I was wrestling some school newsletters into children's 'take home' folders when I overheard Ms. McConnell, our Teaching Assistant, say,
"Oh, sure, we could play a game of 'Duck, Duck, Goose' "
I looked over at her quickly; she had been reading a book aloud and now these seven or so children were positioned in a small circle on the gathering carpet.
Yikes, I thought, 'Duck, Duck, Goose?' - we can't possibly do that kind of running around in here...we don't have the space and these preschoolers don't have the self-control...it will end in mayhem...
But, as always, Ms. McConnell was thinking along the same lines as me...
She continued, "But, we're going to play it by some very special 'Big Cats' rules. Here's how it works, when you tap a friend on the head for 'Goose,' you then gently lean down and offer that friend your hand, and then the two of you walk hand-in-hand around the circle until you get back to the place that your friend got up from...then you sit down in that spot, and your friend gets to say 'Duck, Duck, Goose'; here, let me demonstrate..."
What?, I thought, Would they play like this?
Time for some argument. "That's not the way you play 'Duck, Duck, Goose'," said Lukas.
"Well, it's not the typical way. It's a new way, it's the 'Big Cats' way," explained Ms. McConnell.
"Why do we have to play like that?," asked Charlie.
"Because we are learning self-regulation," said Ms. McConnell. By her voice, "self-regulation" sounded both exciting and desirous - this was definitely something the children wanted!
And so began the most delightful game of Duck, Duck, Goose that I have ever witnessed! Over and over the children played, taking turns, tapping one another on the head, walking hand-in-hand around the circle with their new partner, big huge smiles on their faces.
Ah, the honest and simple enthusiasm of preschoolers - give us rules and we will follow, as long as we think it is a game.