I was blogging about play this morning and landed at a wonderful site about parenting, play and creative endeavours. The title was “The Case for NOT Packing Away!” This really reflects a philosophy about play with a sprinkling of understanding child development. The discussion really addressed the topic very well and is always a great discussion at our kindergarten meetings. I’m sure many of you have already figured out that our big projects in the block centre stay for days as kinders visit the creations to add on, change or re-invent. Jace and Sarah worked on a block project over many days adding, building and decorating. Lots of math was experienced through their play; symmetry, balance, space, one to one correspondence, counting ...
Some of you might have experienced heartbroken resistance, when it comes time for your child to clean up that big project that he invested a great deal of time and creativity on, only to be told to put everything away leaving both of you frustrated. Here are a few suggestions, from the blog, for easing the situation.
Create a permanent display space:
Children need time to see their ideas come to fruition and often this time is interrupted by other elements of the daily routine. By packing away for mealtimes or to go out, you child needs to start all over again each time and as well as being disheartening and frustrating, it often means children do not have the opportunity to make more detailed, involved constructions or creations.
By revisiting previous work, children usually engage in revising, extending and improving upon their previous ideas. This is an important part of the learning process.
In terms of managing the situation with your child, I suggest allocating a special space in his playroom (or your living room, if you are in the same situation as we are) to be his ‘project work’ space where he can keep projects in progress. This could be a shelf or a mat in the corner of the room. A lightweight piece of board to build on can make moving constructions around the room much easier.
Make a hard copy:
If you have a digital camera you may also suggest that your son take a photo of a project before he packs it away. These can be printed out and stuck into a scrapbook for him to revisit (and rebuild) at a later time. Another idea is to make sure paper, pencils and a clipboard are always on hand so that he can draw the project before he puts it away.
Make big clean up jobs a shared task:
By working together, you show that you care about his work, value his time and model the right attitude. As children mature and develop self-regulation they begin to clean up with little or no reminders, organize their thinking and plan ahead. While they are maturing, working together on the bigger jobs reduces frustration and makes clean up fun.