Thursday, 27 March 2014

"The New Square"

Today we had a philosophy session with the children, although this time I wasn't with... so writing this post is going to be a great way for me to see the process of the session...
I was with two children in our little "library" reading books and supporting their language development... last week we got a new pedagogue in our group, to support us with a couple of our children who at this time in their life need some extra scaffolding - language being one area, the need for small groups to reduce sensory overload being another. it is wonderful to be able to provide the children with the support that they need right now... and being able to have such a small group (of just 2) really allows you to see their language and what areas that need scaffolding the most...

back to the philosophy session.
We wanted to introduce the children to the thought that others will want to use the square too, and that their decisions in their designs have effects on other... Ellen wrote a story about the square... here it is

There was once 11 children. Every day they used to play on the square together. The square was big and many people lived around it. Close by there was an ICA supermarket. One day one of the children said
- I wish it was summer on the square

-I wish I could swim

- and I wish that there were flowers

- and a castle, said a fourth

- I wish there was a big cake, said a fifth.

They sat in a ring in the middle of the square and began to think. After a while they got an idea: we can re-build the square so that everything we wished for was here. And the children began to build. The Castle became bigger and bigger. Around the castle they planted rose bushes, just like Sleeping Beauty's castle. Round the bushes they dug a lake. Inside the castle they baked a huge cake.

When everything was finished the children were satisfied. Wow, what a square they had built!

Suddenly someone screamed

- Help! Help me! Heeelp meeee!

The children ran out to see what it was. On one side of the castle was an old man. he had fallen into the lake and couldn't get up. Now he was screaming for help.

- Ow! OOOWWW! burst someone else

The children ran further and saw an old woman stuck in the rosebushes. She had sratches on her arms. Now she was crying for help.

- Hello! HELLLOOO! shouted another, I am not going to get to the train on time

The children ran there and saw another old man that looked at his watch. he looked angry when he looked at the new square. He wondered what had happened.

Then the children sat in their castle and began to think. How were they going to solve this?

The children had some thinking time and then were given the chance to suggest some ideas for a solution...
  • if the children could look for other children they would have blood, lots of blood
  • maybe they could build another square
  • what if there are old people there too?
  • they have to go to a square without people.
  • do such squares exist?
  • yes, for I have seen them before
  • they have to go to the dentist they can get a plaster.
  • they need to find another square
  • if you get a splinter in your finger you have to get tongs to remove it... they could come to the square when they are ready
  • the old ones need to go to the doctor
  • should all the old people go to the doctor... is that a solution?
  • If one build a castle who is allowed in?
  • it should be in the corner
  • so that the old ones can get by... do you think that is a good idea?
  • its a strange idea, we should have the castle behind the roses
  • but they hurt themselves on the roses...
  • they can go to the doctor
  • you have to take care or have a rope so she can go to the doctor. A rope that you can sit on.
  • is that a good idea?
  • I have many questions. he can help of a horse. One can borrow a horse and ride it so that you come to the doctor
  • is that a good idea?
  • YES
  • where should the horses be?
  • in the corner
  • in the stables
  • who will take care of the horses
  • we will
  • I will
  • I ride horses
  • But when we sleep who will take care of the horses?
  • when we sleep we can put the horses in the stable, they sleep
  • they cannot come out, we lock the door
  • if I think about old people, some have difficulty walking and use a rullator, they cannot ride
  • then they can have a sled to go on and hold onto the tail
  • is that a good idea?
  • no, they can have a lot of plasters and then they can go
  • they cannot walk so they can lie in bed, then they can walk again
  • if they go into the castle, there is a woman and a crown.
  • one can get a bandage on the foot and remove the thorns
  • but if there is a castle on the square how will wheelchairs get across?
  • they get carried..
  • who will carry them
  • others who live in the castle

It certainly is interesting to read, this session was with a group of six three year olds. There is a clear focus on the cuts and scrapes, and how children comfort themselves through accidents and illness with the fact that they will get better... the idea of not getting better has obvioulsy not occured to them. It would be interesting to read the same story with the older children of the group (that were not with due to days off, illness etc) - what would those children focus on?

And then to bring them all together with all their ideas presented would also be interesting - would their thoughts change, expand or stay more or less the same?

one of the designs from January... ballons and flowers on the square.

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