Thursday 19 September 2013

International Fairy Tea Party excitement and Philosofairy

Today we did some baking in preparation for tomorrow's Fairy Tea Party - the children are excited - as are we grown-ups! Who would have known that there was so much learning potential in a project about fairies... and there is still plenty left - so it is just to see where it will take us - but there is a sense that flight might be an area to explore...

Here are this week's philosophy sessions


  • a moon. Because it is dark.
  • I would wish for a princess that had glass shoes and flowers. Because I want to be beautiful.
  • Gröna Lund. Because I like Gröna Lund (the funfair in Stockholm)
  • I would wish for a princess in high heels, lipstick and a dress. Because I like make-up
  • I would wish for a princess with a long dress. I like make-up and lipstick and jewellery and long hair down to my bottom and I like long dresses.
  • I would wish for a cat... that I would buy. A kitten - and an elephant too, and a dog and a tiger and an elephant and a... because I want to hold them and have hair down to my bottom and a girl with a frog in her pocket and an elephant - and up in the sky and up on my head...
  • e rat. Because I like it (what would you do with the rat?) play with it.
  • truck. Because I like it. I would play with it.
  • a moon. Because I like it.
  • I would... if I found it... I would call you... I would wish that everyone got wings and could fly to xxx- And ask how is everything and ask how she is. Ask if she can say English now and if she has got the song we are going to send.
  • it does not have leaves and it can talk. They have branches but no leaves - and they don't have normal leaves - but magical leaves that can open fairy doors.
  • pink and yellow and green
  • a wishing tree look like my nail varnish (dark pink)
  • it looks like - pink, yellow, black and green
  • it looks like... like.... like... I think that it looks like a white colour
  • it looks like Muck. It has branches and Muck in the tree and Scoop and they are high up in the tree
  • Do you mean like a Christmas tree with small figures hanging from the tree? Small figures of Muck and Scoop
  • (nodding with a big smile?)

  • it is actually like this... they are actually a boy and a girl. They can have dresses. And fairies can talk and there are real fairies.
  • fairies usually always dance
  • a...a...a.. fairy has a dress and lipstick and high heels
  • a boy
  • I beleive that they are... are a boy. They are like me. (are you a fairy) No (does a fairy have something that you do not have?) - don't know
  • mmm, they have small shoes and they look like... they also have wings that we do not have... almost like us, but they are older. And xxx is going to meet them in USA - and we are going to take pictures.
  • .......
  • but you need fairy dust too - in the hand - and you take it up from the moon and then we see better and then we can come through the door.
  • I can fly then - and if you get sticky hands then you can open the door
  • I am thinking of... fairies look like a girls with a Hello Kitty top like me... and trousers like me..
  • yes, I am a fairy - a hello kitty fairy
  • Suzanne will be this big (stretches out arms) and then hokuspokus - and you will be a fairy - I will "trolla" (perform magic) one must breath out and trolla trolla trolla troll and you will become a fairy
  • I am also a fairy. I magic myself into a fairy
  • I have thought a little - I have an idea for everyone here - how can we be small for real? How can we get there? They are so far away. How are we going to become fairies?
  • we take the underground train to the fairies
  • we could have a philosphical discussion out in the forest while we wait for the fairies...

As you see the discussions have really started to evolve  - the children's answers are getting longer - they are starting t use terms like "I think" "idea" "I have had a thought" and "philosophical discussion" - they have also started to ask questions. This feel very exciting - and I am looking forward to next week when we can ask those questions asked by one of the children at the end of Wednesday's session.

AND how will the fairy party tomorrow influence (if at all) their answers.
AND we have some new fairies at preschool - and I presented a theory that while there were no children at preschool they were alive and played and moved around. So they wanted to test the theory - the fairy dolls were put in a plastic box -
this morning one of the children came excitedly to me showing the empty box - what did this mean? They must come alive. Where have they gone? I don't know.
Half way through circle time the fairies were spotted up on high on another shelf - and they looked like they were playing hide and seek... they children started thinking about how they got up there and how they were going to get through the door that was just the right size.

The dolls have been moved again at the end of the day... let's see if they notice that again...


  1. I was just wondering what you would do with a child whose answer to your first question was, "There is no such thing as a wishing tree."

    As an example my son worked out for himself that Father Christmas didn't exist when he was less than 3. By three he refused to take part in any of the activities at his Steiner Preschool that involved make believe. He was more interested in where the water really came from that flushed the toilet, and what the mechanism was, and the teacher's explanation that it was magic lowered his opinion of him.

    I ended up having to have a chat with him to explain that some people did believe in fairies and things like that, and that their parents liked them to keep believing in them, so it wasn't up to us to tell them other wise. I dreaded getting into trouble with the other parents for having the kid that went around telling the others that Father Christmas wasn't real.

    What happens when a child who is destined to be a scientist or engineer comes to your class? How do you handle that?

    1. a really interesting point - and part of the reason for using philosphical dialogue with children is for everyone to be able to present their own ideas...

      if a child was to say they did not believe there were no wishing trees then they would be asked why they thought this - and would have the opportunity to explore the ideas behind the child's own musings on whether wishing trees were a possibility or not...

      after all I have never seen a wishing tree myself and yet that could be because I have not been looking in the right place.

      MY children have talked about the existence of Father Christmas and to whether or not he is real - I will not lie to my children when asked a direct question like that, but I do not want to spoil the magic of Christmas either - so I simply answer that I believe in the magic of Christmas and the many elements that make it feel magical... this has allowed my two older children to understand that when you pretend you can have more fun... my youngest totally believes even though he is 9 years old ... I have never once said outright that he exists - but have always allowed enough room for the children to believe in his existence for as long as they want to.

      I ahve to agree that using magic to explain flushing toilets seems rather ridiculous - although I would like to take the time to find out what theories the children have about flushing toilets and then explore them...

      Just as we have done with fairies... we have taken their theories and have explored them... we will now be delving into flight as the children have shown an interest in fairy flight - can WE fly, why can fairies fly...

      As for the flying fairy dolls - I am interested to see if they ever ask me if it is ME that is moving them... again I will never lie to a child asking me a direct question... but as yet they have not presented this as a possible theory - but they will eventually when I am not there and do not move them, or do not have an opportunity to to that as the children are all there at the same time as I am... They will o doubt either work it out, or lose interest...

      For me it saddens me to hear that a teacher is NOT responding to a child's natural curiosity to understand the world around them - for me THAT is the greatest magic of all...

      And if a child is going to be a scientist or engineer I welocme that an will meet that interest with the same enthusiasm as the fairy project... which is why I have been excited about the interest in flight - as I was hoping it would go there so we could do a more scientific approach to the fairy project by testing out flight and whether having fairy wings means we can fly for real - and also about aerodynamics - to learn theat bumblebees, airplanes, birds, bats, helicopters, some plant seeds, sugar-gliders etc etc all fly in different ways - and that in fact some birds DON'T fly - and what would make a paper airplane fly better than another paper airplane - size, paper colour, paper weight, design etc etc...

      We welcome ALL answers - and would encourage ALL answers to be respected and explored

      That is why our own questions to the children has been "are you a fairy if you have wings" "how can I be a fairy" when the children were saying that they were fairies - to try and work out WHY they would say they were a fairy, what is the logic behind this belief...

      The fairies are simply a door to exploring the world around them... we have explored culture, friendship, arts, gender, math, senses, nature etc etc - and now we will be exploring science etc as well...

      hope this answers your question - if not please give more valuabel feedback - and many many thanks for this VERY important question

      PRESCHOOL is for ALL children and ALL their languages and learning approaches - NOT just one style fits all!