Sunday, May 25, 2008

Parallel Play

I have been thinking about the little ones, and how I would like to work towards some sitting together, focusing on literacy and numeracy and cultural knowledge type things. They learn quite a bit on the go, but I don’t want to miss that together-time with them, nor do I want to make it a boring seatwork session.

While I was thinking about that I started thinking about how Paddy and Aidan love to see a therapist arrive at the house (and when they were younger, the Head Start teacher for Aidan) because they usually brought a variety of toys and things to do. We lucked out with the Headstart teacher for Aidan — she was so wise and patient and almost like a natural Montessori-type teacher. She would bring out things to “present” to him but she figured out his pattern of a few minutes per item and so she would wait for his responses and watch for when he had had enough.

(One of the most common flaws I’ve seen in a therapist is a hurried attitude. So many of them don’t really wait; they ask a question and are so obviously ready to prompt him that Aidan, of course, picks up the signal and waits in turn for them to do this. The other related flaw is to force attention. Maybe that isn’t a flaw but a planned procedure, but to me it doesn’t seem as effective as the attention-response waltz this Headstart teacher seemed to do naturally– she was a grandma with 2 grown daughters and I think she must have gained wisdom with her silver hairs).

He learned so much from this teacher. He really surprised the evaluator at the end of the year because he knew all the names of the numbers and letters, shapes and colors, and this was actually ahead of where he was developmentally. More importantly, he had a good attitude about these things that has lasted him years now.

Anyway, it occurred to me that we have so many odds and ends around the house that it would be easy for me to make little packets of fun things and just sit with them and do this kind of interacting. That might be a nice way to build towards introducing some materials that are not quite so readily accessible — and when a child is having fun and relaxed this way, they are so open to learning and so ready to talk about what they already know.

Just a thought. I wanted to write it down while I was still thinking about it.

Aidan and Liam both focusing intently.