Having time off from preschool life gives me time to watch my own children, which helps me understand another layer of play.
I watch how my two teenagers are more reluctant to start playing... but always end up playing anyway... in the fountains on Pearl Street, here in Boulder, and at the playspaces we have been visiting... and of course making dams in the creek. I guess it is the time when they are trying to work out if they are too old for play... and giving children time, even big children like my own, enough time, then they will start to play (when they don't have their noses in a book!!).
Michael is play personified. His appetite for play is enormous. And anything that does not look like play is automatically boring... for him, he needs time to see play in things he becomes blinded to in his first judgement...
I have also learned more about how when there is no goal in sight it becomes hard to almost impossible for Michael to focus, to channel his energy into completing a task... we have been doing some small hikes... and this means walking in hot weather and at high altitude - something that has been a bit strange for all of us... but has been overwhelming at times for Michael. But today when we were at Red Rock Amphitheatre I saw a switch... he went from not being able to walk a step more and just give up and lie down, when he did not know how far was left... to being able to virtually run up the amphitheatre stairs when he saw the top... it was amazing.
But it really does show the diversity of children... some children do need clear goals to be able to motivate themselves... would he be deemed lazy by others if the goal was not clear and he gave up? Of course for me, as a parent, I feel I need to support him to find that inner strength to persevere even when the goal is not visible - and to find ways to make goals more visible.
Now can I apply all of this new knowledge to my preschool work... looking for those children who do need clear goals to help motivate them. And also to make sure I give play enough time. It always comes back to time doesn't it...?