Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Play... (Palestine 14)

Today I went on another excursion with The Freedom Theatre preschool... up into the outskirts of Jenin, on a mountainside with the most wonderful views.
The destination is a home under construction - so there are rocks, sand, gravel and construction rubble everywhere... basically a paradise for creative play. It doesn't look beautiful... though the views do... but it is rich in possibilities.
The children had no problems finding things to do.

Fire was, again, a central part of the morning.
The children gathered stones to make the fireplace, discussed where the fire should be made, built the fireplace so the saucepan would have support over the heat, collected wood and sticks for the fire and helped fuel the fire until it got going. There was no adult watching the fire like a hawk to keep the children "safe", but watched the fire to ensure that it heated the sweetcorn and so that the children KNEW how to respect and maintain a fire. There is always the benefit of having a small group... the learning is real, hands on and meaningful. There is also a natural trust between the children and the educator which enables the fire to be there without it being a danger... but all are aware of the risk that it is too hot too touch. The children are aged 3-5. There were 5 children. I took the role of observer... but did interact with the children too.

Below is a visual story of the trip... BUT only the part by the building... we also walked onto the mountainside to explore the rocks and small pools of water... but I will save those images for another day...

interesting to see this play... I had seen the exact same play need at the previous excursion, that time squashing olives.

first attempt at a fireplace... a long line of breeze-blocks... great for building muscles!

building the fireplace... learning that it needs to be high enough to build a fire under the pan

the sweetcorn warming up for snack... as the children explore and play

making mud balls... there are layers of different types of sands making these balls... I have a series of photos documenting the evolving mud balls.

balancing on rocks and counting... the last rock was quite wobbly

this was fixed by the rock being replaced with a flatter rock, the decision to do this was made by one of the children.
fancy toys are not needed... children are creative and play with what is available... plastic cups become buckets to make castles. There were two types of sand... they soon learned which one was better at making castles.

then it was time ti decorate the castles

sometimes relocating was needed to ensure the peace and quiet to finish construction without a younger child's need to play demolition.

also learning that the "good" sand did not work as well when it was filled with small pebbles.

but it was worth trying again...

our play-space today... and view.
The children did not want to leave. They had a great deal of fun here... and it was clear that there was much learning happening, motor skills developing, social skills being tested and cognitive skills being expanded. All happening in PLAY.

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