Thursday, March 28, 2013

What is Scary?

Scary, to cause fright or alarm, has many interpretations depending on the person who is scared.
For children the source of "Scary" can be come from anywhere; a fire alarm, a imagined monster, a character in a movie or book, a neighborhood dog. The list is endless.
So how do we help them to deal with "scary"
Drawing and discussions are a good place to start.
For Sophia, aged four, scary was the witch in Snow White.

Of particular "scariness" were her long fingernails, the wart on her nose and her scary nose. Sophia chose the color green to accent the features that scared her the most.
She also added a bubbling cauldron filled with poison apples.

Here is her story

A witch isn't real it's just in your mind. If you think about it in your mind it could be scary but it's not real. It's just imagination because there is no such thing as witches because they're just in movies and stories. They're scary because they could kill people and because they scare people and eat people.

These are the witch's black crows. The crows have red beaks and they are nice and furry and soft and they have black feathers. Inside the wings they have red poison. You can't see the poison because it's black but I made it red so Tiziana could see it.  They spray the poison on people who come too close because that means the crows are afraid of the people . The poison is going to kill the people. They're bad crows because they spray poison on people and they want to hurt them just like the queen who gave the poison apple to Snow White.

The pot is bubbly and it's for the apple for Snow White. The apple is poisoned and nice and shiny and red and it's crunchy if you eat it. If you eat it it is going to be poisoned. It has a black dot on it and that is where the poison is.

The witch is angry and mad and she has a mirror  mirror on the wall because it always tells her Snow White is the fairest of them all. She's angry at Snow White and she always kills Snow White and she wants to be the fairest of them all.
The spiders are creepy and crawly and they always tickle you if they crawl on you. They eat flies and they live in cob webs.
The nails are pointy and they're sharp and she can't make a fist because she'll hurt herself and nobody can touch her nails.
Snow White died because she took a bite of the poison apple and the Prince might have to kiss  her.
And that's why I think that the witch is scary!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nature, Nurture or Both?

Meet Marlow (the youngest of my nieces), a capricious two and half year old that would astound the most seasoned educator. This preschooler has the vocabulary of a child 3 times her age, she recognizes letters and is able to give examples of words that begin with the letter sound. She sat through the Broadway production of the Wizard of Oz and was able to answer questions about the story line, knowing that in order for Dorothy to get home she had to bring the Wizard the witch's broom. She recalls details of family vacations and events. She converses in full sentences, using part of the question in her answer. She holds her pencil using a firm pincer grasp and draws a face; two eyes, a nose, mouth and a tear drop for good measure.

So what makes Marlow so exceptional? Was she born with amazing aptitude or is it environment?
Marlow has two older siblings 12 and 10 years old and she attends daycare. 
She has one cousin who is her age but all the rest are  in their late teens and early adult years.
Spending a few hours with Marlow will leave you thinking.
How much should we offer children? Should we limit our classrooms based on the general guidelines of development or should we offer more? 
I offer that Marlow is both, gifted and nurtured by her environment.
As educators we should provide children with a rich context giving due consideration to developmental milestones but not being limited by them.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Light and Drawing the Perfect Pair!

This afternoon, as I browsed through old folders, I came across these beautiful photos. Of course, I've seen them many times, but today I was captivated by the way the sunlight filtered through the window and came to rest on the children and their work. The beauty of this particular experience was not only about the art created but also about the way the drawing table was placed by the window with intention. It makes us reflective of how the environment impacts an experience.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Bucket Full of Gadgets!

When you provide children with a bucket full of objects, interesting experiences happen.