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Nov 12 2013

Learning Happens

Posted by: Maureen November 12, 2013

Where are the children? I follow the voices into the courtyard, where the kids have pulled their sand and water table out under a maple tree. One half of the class is in hiding on the other side of the yard. The rest are busily burying evidence in the sand. A 6-year-old informs me, “We’re the native people. Our farms have been flooded and we’re moving out. When we go, we leave clues behind and then arty- arky- archeologists find out about how we lived.  I’m leaving some green cloth.” “I’m hiding a chicken bone!”  “I brought a real arrow head to hide!” 

Then it’s time to flee; the archeologists have grown tired of polishing their magnifying glasses and are ready to discover. The diggers get right to work, unearthing rare finds and discussing their meaning.  “Hmm, they liked to wear green.” “And shoot chickens with arrows.”  “Was it Robin Hood?”

Eventually the past and the present meet, bubbling over with hints and clues hidden and discovered. They troop inside for lunch, arms waving, ideas popping. “Hey, do we have books about the olden times?”

I’m dazzled by the 6-year-old who dared to pronounce the word “archeologists” because he knew, viscerally, what it meant.  Learning happened here again.

If you also believe that the best learning occurs with hands-on, interactive play and discovery you’ll enjoy this article by Randy White.