As most of you know, our school is lab school for the University in our area, Saint Ambrose University. This last few week, we have been preparing for the play that we were going to be able to go see at the Fine Art’s building on Campus. Several children had been to the play in years past and began to explain their experiences at this play. This then continued with conversations and experiences that children had in their home life as well as their school experiences. The children watched and followed along with a book on the IPad which shared the story of Alice in Wonderland. After reading the story several times, the children began to retell the story. After retelling the story on several occasions, the children began to talk about how they could represent this story in a play like form.
We spent several days creating stages and acting out the story. On one day, all of the children’s ideas thoughts and retelling’s became a play. All participated in the event in various ways and for various time periods from 10 minutes to two hours. We had each part that we believed or knew would be at the play including a person to give out tickets, a stage, curtains, costumes, actors/actresses, and seats. The children then invited us for their production. During this time, we also talked about what we would see at the “big campus” as dubbed by the children when we went. The answers to these questions then became embedded in their play.
We had the opportunity to see the play yesterday and we had so many new experiences! In the afternoon, we had a group just devoted to what surprised us! The children shared not only what surprised them but then moved on to what interested them, what they wondered about, and what they would like to learn more about. Today, we had more in-depth play from our visit. The children used a bigger more curtain like fabric to use as their curtain. More chairs were used as seats then before and they were in more visible rows then before. The costumes were more elaborate and they now had a sound that would let you know the play was beginning. At lunch, talk turned to the different kinds of plays and places plays are held.
The children learned so much through this experience and are still learning. Play is a wonderful way to help introduce a new, unknown topic and this helps the children feel more comfortable about the situation as well! As many early childhood teachers, professors, and specialists will say, “play is work for the young child!”
Until next time,