L. (almost six years old) stood proudly at the top of the loft stairs, calling to me, “Megan! Megan! I have something to show you! This is my work.”
As I moved closer, I asked, “What kind of job do you do?”
“I count for people.” L. replied with certainty and confidence. “I have a special technology to count them.” she explained as she held out a bowl of jewels, “If there is more, there is more. If there is less, there is less.” I’m loving the logic.
“People bring stuff to my store,” she continued, “ and I count it for them.” Leia put the bowl of jewels down an began transferring them to another bowl as she counted aloud. “Look. Here there’s 31. I use two [bowls] so I don’t have a mess and that is how I count it.”
Rylee (almost two and a half), who has been watching intently throughout our conversation, adds, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, that’s all of them.”
They head down from the loft to gather more materials and are distracted by another game elsewhere in the room. This moment though, lingers for me.
I am appreciating the way that the loft lends itself to endless creative pursuits. It is a place to explore light and shadow, balance and coordination, peek-a-boo and object permanence, etc. yet it also transforms, along with the children’s thinking, into a castle, a bird house, a fort, and today a store, and not just any store but one with a very special and specific purpose.
I love the way that open ended materials and permission (or rather freedom from restrictions) allows for language, math and social studies (as seen today, but often much more) to be woven naturally into the children’s imaginative play.
I am continually amazed by the way that listening and asking a few thoughtful questions can support the development of children’s thoughts and ideas. It truly doesn’t take much.
I am touched by the magic that is a multi-age group. I see it echoed here in this moment and in many others throughout each of our days together… the development of care and empathy as well as the deep learning that happens through their observations, conversations and interactions with one another.
These little moments that make up our days are perhaps not so little; rather, they are filled with great significance.
Megan Fraser has been writing a series of stories for Natural Pod about her experiences and reflections while having a Natural Pod Play Loft in her care space.