Lindie's Blog
Items filtered by date: October 2021
Sunday, 10 October 2021 18:26

A visit with Penny the beagle

     As we finished celebrating the color brown, my dogs, Penny and Ivy came to visit Kindergarten.  Several weeks before, Penny, a beagle, had had surgery to remove a tumor.  As a result, she now has three legs--two front and one back.  I had shared this at news time, and several Kindergartners asked questions about why, how could she walk, could she come to school to visit?  It is normal for children this age to be both curious and afraid of body differences that involve differently formed or missing body parts or different ways of moving.  I thought a visit from Penny might be a good way for the children to begin to be more comfortable with these types of differences. 

     On the afternoon of the visit, my partner brought the dogs to the playground to meet us.  On our way up to the playground, a couple children who usually are at the lead, hung back with me.  One of them confided, "We're both a little afraid about seeing a dog with three legs."  I explained that many people feel that way and reminded them that they could go close to see Penny or stay as far away as they wanted.  I reassured them that although Penny might look different, her body doesn't hurt her now. 

     Some of the children were interested in petting the dogs, and some were not.  A group of interested Younger Groupers joined us to visit the dogs.  Several of the children took turns walking Penny. The two children who hung back with me did get close to Penny, and one of them even took a turn walking her around the playground.  The other asked if Penny could come back, so she could have a turn to walk her, when she is more used to her.  Penny, who loves to be petted and to walk around sniffing things, thoroughly enjoyed herself and is looking forward to a return visit.   

Epilogue: The children enjoyed revisiting Agraria last week. Penny is trying out as our off site support dog, and many of the children like taking turns holding her leash. A couple children tried reading to her (she wasn't very attentive to print:), and I noticed several children coming over to her to give her a pet and to touch base, as they went through their day at Agraria. She will accompany us on our hikes in the Glen, trips to Agraria, and other off site trips as well.
Saturday, 09 October 2021 14:41

Moving at the Speed of Light

Last week was fast paced with a lot going on. Years ago and thinking back to her own childhood, my daughter once made an observation to me that children in groups move at the speed of light. It’s a good metaphor for the flow of their ideas and the pace of their play… especially in young children.

I know that the speed is part of the exhilaration of it for them and I know it can still be difficult for them to keep up with it.... even though together they are the driving force of it. They are taking part in plans and play that can morph and change on a dime. This seems especially true for last week’s Nurseries.

I think in part it came out of our first real taste of sunny October weather, plus the the very beginnings of Halloween excitement that we always see emerging around this time. I think it also comes out of a growing familiarity with the process of talking and listening with each other if their play gets stuck. They are beginning to become more practiced with setting a limit with one another as needed and, in turn, with accepting a limit as it is set by a peer. They are beginning to take the time for one-on-one play together. Along with this growing understanding of the individuals in the group, they are becoming a bit more confident in their group play.

The Nurseries were busy with their plans in a big group, in a small group, and sometimes on their own. Their days involved a lot of climbing and running and triking and digging and swinging. They are MOVING! They are also getting the idea that if they have BIG energy they can take it outside where it can match the space. My repeating words are, “You know, it’s great to have big energy and a big voice. You just need to find a big space for it… outside.” It is beginning to make more and more sense to them and there are several who want to start outside first thing in the morning. Finding a way to recognize and match your own energies to the realities of the moment is a big part of self regulation.

Rain or shine, this is a BIG energy and active group of people. Imaginative play is where they live right now. They also love music time with Athena, and books and story time with me… plus snack time, of course and knock-knock jokes! It’s another one of those language and music kinds of groups. In addition, they are definitely individuals! They have their own personalities, temperaments, and very clear ideas of how their worlds should work and how the events around them should transpire! Add in their desire to be together and this mix is naturally giving them lots of opportunities to gain experience and skill, comfort and confidence with setting limits with one another…  and with accepting the limits that are set for them by others. They are learning all this problem solving together to the backdrop of their play.

The joy of their play and of being together is the motivator and certainly creates an environment for their own social understanding and personal growth. But this does not mean that this part of what they do is necessarily easy or fun. I know it can sometimes feel like a lot of challenge to them. It’s a given that it can take a lot of energy and courage to actually follow through and express yourself directly to a peer. It also takes energy and courage to open yourself to another, to let go of yourself and your own ideas long enough to listen to that other person and their own ideas or feelings. I am there to help en-courage (give courage) to them in this. With practice and experience, it does get easier and easier. And the growth that results helps expand their understanding and their worlds even more.

I am already seeing a great deal of forward movement, especially during this past week. These are young children with a young understanding of where they leave off and another person begins. Often a sticking point in their play together can stem from a difficulty in expanding their own concept of their play to include another’s ideas. To young children, especially when they are first navigating being in a group together, the emotional reality of  “Not nice” can sometimes mean you-don’t-want-to-play-Puppies-with-me. “Nice” can mean that you do. Deep inside their own worlds of play, it can make absolutely no sense to them that the blue climber or the play house or the Nursery loft could be used simultaneously for Puppies and Pirates! My mantra is that the school and all of the play yards belong to all of us together. You can always tell other people about your own plans for play and maybe they will want to do that or maybe their plans will be different. And that’s okay! And I might add, sometimes people want to put their ideas together and come up with something totally fun and new. And that can be even more fun.

Saturday, 09 October 2021 14:33

September 19, 2021 Early Days in the Nursery

It was another busy week… lots and lots of imaginative play inside and out, more experience with the idea of sharing the necessary stuff back and forth, setting times for trikes, gaining experience and comfort with limit setting for a friend as needed. Some are learning it’s okay to speak up more loudly to set a limit; some are learning to turn their dial back a few notches if you need to let people know how you are feeling about something. It’s all about practice and confidence in a group and finding your own middle and having the courage to share it.

Early in the week, one child announced his find of a small and beautiful dark brown chrysalis with yellow/orange almost golden vertical splotches and lines . Several of the  children (and grown-ups) kept track each day. On Friday the same child who found it brought me over again to show me the changes. It was dark, dark brown, almost black with two thick horizontal rings around and near the top of the pupa case. As we gathered up to see, he proclaimed, “When it turns dark, that means it’s about ready to come out.” When we came out after stories, indeed that’s what we found. Metamorphosis was complete, the chrysalis shell was empty, and the owlet moth had flown away!

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