Thursday, 24 January 2013

Light Show - Sensacional

drip drip drip - "its water!" - "fishes, look fishes"
 This was an experience for small children - NO ADULTS ALLOWED - teachers and parents needed to stay on the benches around the edge - this was a new kind of free play.
  free play of the digital age!
There was plenty of running, jumping, interacting with each other and with the moving light creatures and shapes - AND there was some screaming too.
We were told NOT to interfere, that the children were to experience the light show on their own terms - but the screaming...? At first I felt a need to shush the children - but I had to remember, this was on their terms... but what about those who did not dare go onto the white surface - was this because it was too busy, too noisy? or was this simply their quieter and smaller way to interact with the light...? (smaller in the sense that it seemed small from an adult view - for the child it might have been an equally big experience for them as those running and screaming and touching every light shape - we should not judge the size of the child experience by the amount they move or speak, as only the child can feel the size of their own experience)
It has made me reconsider screaming - maybe this was just their way to express their joy, their excitement and their surprise... maybe for it to be on the children's terms there needs to be the opportunity for the children to experience this several times - just one visit maybe just allows for pure excitement and novelty - and further visits would allow for wonder and reflection - for theories and stories to start. Maybe we as adults are too quick to put a lid on the screaming - and that large groups of children have to control part of their natural play due to sound pollution. When I attended my own children's preschool development talks their loudness was always commented on as something to control - the need to use their indoor voices. I understand the need for this - I use the phrase frequently myself - but the loudness of children is just one of those things is it something we need to fight against or work with? If we are working with it, how is this best done? Need to think more about that...

big fishes and small fishes - here you can really see the benefit of the white outfits
 This was an experience for the smallest children, 18 months to three years of age - but still the difference between a toddler and a fully fledged three year old can be quite striking - especially when they are running and dancing and experiencing on their own terms - it was three of our youngest children that were the most nervous about being on the white square - was it because they felt small? Or was it just part of how they wanted to experience it - sitting at the edge in the comfort of an adult - watching and touching the light animals as they passed by... and eventually one of them ventured further in.

If children were able to visit several times maybe it would allow the "noisier" children to find a calmness to be able to discover more - to lie down and just absorb the experience - to be a part of the stage in the white clothes and allow the ladybirds to crawl over them... it would also maybe allow the ones who were more nervous to gain the confidence to explore the whole area and not just the edges.

 It would have been wonderful if there could be an adult session - why should children always have all the fun? I want to play too! Maybe if more adults got in touch with their inner child - with PLAY maybe it would be easier to allow children to play - to REALLY play, their way. Even for older children - sometimes I think older children play less, in the sense of free natural play like a preschooler, unfettered by concerns about how nerdy or uncool they may seem to their peers.

the hearts just before they sprouted legs and joined together to form a caterpillar
 Sensacional will be continuing in the UK after being in Stockholm - so there are chances for others to participate in this experience. When I reflect on the experience I saw today I saw INTERACTION and the space for IMAGINATION - two elements that I feel are important - not just for children but for everyone... to interact with people, nature and everything around us and to be able to use our imaginations, to be creative - imagination is vital for problem solving, for inventing etc it is not just a world of fairy tales but a necessary tool for everyone to master (and I think everyone has more imagination than what they think - they probably have not been exercising their imagination enough to be aware of it - think about how we say "we discover muscles we never knew we had" the day after an intense physical exercise!)
imagining a heart caterpillar


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