It has been several months since a new child joined our group and I have been curious about what kind of impact a change like this might have on the children’s play and the way that they interact within and around the loft. Would there be a shift in their play or would things continue on as they have been? Recently the children have been using the loft as a house, the space below being for sleeping and above being their eating area. When Mack joined us this month I watched to see if a shift occurred.
Mack’s first forays into the loft seemed to be a physical exploration of the space. He jumped up and down, swung himself from the sides, slid and scooted his body around the space. His excitement and large movements were enticing to the other children who happily followed his lead, jumping, shrieking and laughing together.
Then, as the other children moved along and Mack had a quiet moment to himself, he picked up a toy and poked it through the slats in the loft railing. As he moved it through the slat, the toy dropped and landed on a ledge on the outside of the loft. Mack was able to reach the toy but wasn’t able to pull it back through to the inside. As he tried to retrieve his toy, he slid it back up the slats until they opened up enough to allow him to pull it back inside. Mack made a discovery about the loft today, about shapes and space, about persistence and trying again. I realized that the flowing shapes of the slats allow for this type of discovery in a way that standard railings would not, something I hadn’t really thought about before.
After many months of having the loft in our space, this was an entirely new discovery. I love the way that fresh eyes bring about a new perspective. Since that first time, I now notice (about once a day) various toys (usually trucks) wedged between the slats of the loft and sticking out the side. It makes me smile and I know that Mack is still experimenting and working on discovering how the shapes and space work, move and fit together. I can’t wait to see where the children go next!