Friday, 23 August 2013

Fairy philosophy part 3

Yesterday we had our third and final philosophical dialogue for the week and despite a fragile start for a couple of the children we noticed that the routine of the chairs in a circle and the candles provided a calm environment and focus for these children to forget how much they missed their parents and what to participate and from then on had a great rest of the day!

The rhythm of the dialogue flowed better, although there are two children that has not found their philosophical groove yet... but maybe if we place those two near an adult for support and NOT with their backs to the mirror (there is a HUGE need to check themselves out) it will be easier for them to listen to their friends...

We started with asking about what we had talked about the previous day

  • where we live
  • fairies - they can travel by car and underground train.... underground train, car and bus is what Annabel* said.
  • where we live
  • fairies... that they... that they hide in a smart smart place
*no actual names I will just make some up to let the sentence flow!

The warm up question today was

What is your favourite food?
Four of the children liked spaghetti and meat sauce, two liked spaghetti and meatballs, two like sausage and macaroni, one liked pancakes and one liked apple.

What do you think Fairies eat?
  • mini-sausages
  • fairies eat bananas
  • fairies eat animals... pigs
  • I think they eat... sausage
  • mini-sausage
  • spaghetti
  • sushi
  • pancakes
 What do you think fairies wear?
  • fairy clothes... they look like... Tinkerbell... have a green dress... but she's quite stupid because she pulls hairs when she is angry.
  • fairy-dress. fairy-shoes... they are blue. like mine, the dress is also blue
  • pyjamas
  • dress, I think that Tinkerbell has a pink dress and is kind towards her friends
  • clothes... socks.... clothes... different things.... they meet a lot of animals
Do they have arms, legs and a body?
  • I have seen a film and they have small legs and small arms and small heads and small feet... like us, but small
  • Lipstick, and lipstick on their legs and nails on their legs
  • yes (they have arms and legs) and wings and they eat oranges
  • big
  • they look like me, but they have a light pink dress and light pink lipstick
  • the teeth are white and the body is brown, and they have a dress on their body
  • they have a dress like me with butterflies, high heels and a crown.
As you noticed the children were able to concentrate for three questions today, but we had pushed it a little and we could see they were ready to go outside and play by the end of it... instead of reading their words back to them I asked  how many would like to stay and listen and that those that did not could prepare to go outside... just one of the ten children wanted to listen... and piped up proudly everytime her words were read out.

Tinkerbell was mentioned for the first time - both as stupis and kind - and the use of films as a source of fairy information.

Sausages are definitely recurring frequently, so our fairy tea party food should contain them. Fruit has been mentioned before too - and now bananas and oranges pop up. I do notice how the warm up question is influencing their answer... and we have chosen the warm up question partly for this reason, to aid the younger children to find the words and ideas to contribute. There is an obvious disadvantage with this of course, but over time this hopefully disappear as we are interested in using the same warm up questions - about 10 of them - and rotate them to see how the children answer. Will they reply in the exact same way or will they change their answer - and will we be able to talk with them as to why they have changed their answer? I am very interested to see if I can see the children's development through these warm up questions, and also interested to see if they notice that the questions are repeating and are curious about how they answered before.
The aim is to have 2 philosophy dialogues a week, so this means there will be a five week rotation of the warm up questions... will any of the children notice at the end of September that we start with the first warm up question again?

We are also going to play with the set up of the dialogues a little to see how the size of the group influences how the children talk and interact with each other and the question. To have the full group, to have half groups by age, small groups by interest - for one teacher to take a group each for a week or two and also for one teacher to take both groups in two sessions to be able to see how the same question is approached differently and similarly... Ellen and I have talked about experimenting with the philosophical dialogues group wise to find a method that suits the children the best, which could either be one method or a pattern of methods...

The chairs, the candles and the talking rings will remain staples of our philosophical dialogues.

I noticed that the children seemed more fully acquainted with the word "fairy" and were no longer calling them moose! (see the last post to find out more) and that they were not only remembering WHAT was being said, but who said it too!

If you refer to our planning you will see that we are still in session one, and that it is not fully explored yet. We are following the children's pace... to ensure that these dialogues are positive, and that they are challenging but not overwhelming. We have no deadlines, its just a case of letting the project unfold...

On another note...
this afternoon I shared the fairy door with some of the children*... and there was a great deal of excitement and they thought that our fairy figures lived there...
I suggested that the fairies came to life at night... and this idea was snapped up and excitedly explored.
How could they fly up to the door?
Well if they came alive then their wings came alive.
Yes, yes of course.
And why won't the door open for you Suzanne?
I don't know, maybe because I am not a fairy, or I dont have the key, or because I have no magic?

Then they busied themselves with the figures again, taking one of our loose parts and transforming it into a key to unlock one of the blocks, which was really a fairy house...
the key to the fairy house
* the fact that none of the children noticed the fairy door, which IS quite high up has made me think I need to help the children lift their eyes upwards. To give them the gist of curiosity in all directions and not just what is in front of them...
maybe we are "serving" the children too much? In the sense that we offer provacations at preschool and at home they have their toys etc etc - when do they get the time to go looking for their fun, to discover their own adventures. Maybe by having everything at child height is creating children who forget to look up and around and just wait until they stumble across something at their height... hmm just thinking aloud here...


  1. I love hearing what the children have to say, and so glad that they have finally(with a bit of help) found the fairy door.
    Looking forward to the next instalment.


    1. its funny but that door has not caught their imagination much at all... I wonder if it is simply TOO high up?

      I think I might move it and see what happens...