Ready, set, GO!

The children have created a game together, which they are playing in many different settings.  The game usually involves the phrase, “ready, set, go!,” some sort of simultaneous movement such as running, then gathering back together, waiting, looking back and forth at each other, and naturally taking turns being the one to shout joyously, “ready, set, go!”  We are observing so much joy and excitement in the children around this discovery of cooperative, collaborative play.

City Building

The kids are interested in our homemade geoboard, and Lincoln has the idea that it could be a city. They all take turns adding different rubber bands, making shapes and strings of “lights”.

The city becomes a space ship, and Cal realizes the rubberbands can be ‘sound makers’

Chalk and Water on Black Paper

In this experience we worked with chalk and water on black paper. Some chose to pour the water over the paper, others spread it over the chalk using paintbrushes to smear and blur the lines.


“Stop! I don’t want to play that game”
“That was really clear. You don’t want to play this game. Does the growling feel scary?”
“I don’t want to play that game!”
“Guys, guys. I’m a friendly monster! See? I jump too!”
“Yeah, you can jump too!”
Invitation to play:
“This castle really need some friends! He wants the dinosaurs to play with him, because he’s really lonely.” -L “I’ll play with you!” -G “Can this one be my room?” -H


Drawing with Sand and Light

We observed children exploring various strategies for creative expression–using one finger, multiple fingers, one hand, two hands, experimenting with small movements and large movements, straight lines, and wiggly lines, circles and spirals.

Some words that came to mind as we watched the children interact with this offering: soothing, collaborative, shared canvas, impermanence, large scale, sensory…

Who will run meeting?

Amelia and Eddie want to run meeting, but so does Kai. How do we decide who gets to run meeting? We discuss the issue for a few minutes. Various proposals are brought up. The person who helped us negotiate the proposal was Jia, a 5 year old. She was able to see that since Amelia and Kai couldn’t make a decision that someone else should sit in their place until we come up with a system that works for everyone. Amelia and Kai were willing to be flexible and move on so the meeting could take place. Eventually, we agree on the proposal: “Neither Kai nor Amelia will run meeting today and we will put running meeting on the issues list.”



Counting Numbers

“Our calendar is almost full of numbers! What number will it be today, can anyone help me count?” “I can’t count that high, because sometimes I mess up the numbers.” “Yeah, there are a lot of numbers. Maybe we can learn them by practicing. Let’s count them together.” (After counting) “I did it! I didn’t miss any numbers.”
“How do you draw a 4?”
River practices over and over again, recognizing that 44 is a separate number, 444 is its own number, and even 4,444 is its own number!
“I want to draw a 4!”
Troy feels tentative about drawing a 4 all by himself, so we make dot to dots to help. Peter and Sean join in, drawing their own versions of a 4.

Making Binoculars

“How do you get them to stay together?” “You have to use tape. See, like this. ”


At our daily meeting, we ask each child if they have an idea for a plan to do that day. This is the foundation of our Emergent Curriculum. Today, a student said she wanted to make binoculars and many other students showed interest as well.


“Look! I can see!”


What if we work together?

A conflicted erupted around Legos. After their initial reactions, Jamie and Sean realized they were interested building similar things, and Sean suggested “What if we work together?”. This strategy worked really well, and after a time Jamie told Sean, “You’re my best friend.”

A short while later, another student, Ken, began playing with some blocks that Jamie had been using but left unattended for a time. James, now holding a truck, wanted them back but Ken said “No.” Jamie suggested, “You can load your pieces onto my truck. We can work together.” This transformed the situation and the kids played successfully together.

It is amazing to watch kids of different ages learn from each other, and figure out strategies of collaboration to get what they really want: connection.