You notice how few sequins are actually on each collage. Some kids were very intentional about placement and only wanted a select few in a specific arrangement. However, much of the time at the table was spent looking for a very specifically shaped sequin which the children called the "shelf elf", and once it was deemed the "shelf elf" shape, that's the only shape they wanted.
In preschool classrooms, scarcity is an interesting component to social dynamics. Digging through the sequins to find the shelf elves created a little social quandry that seemed to be more tied to the goals of seeking out the shelf elves than the pieces themselves. It was like digging for gold or something. I could see some fundamental aspects of human behavior surfacing. Fun to watch and I learned something about the nature of human behavior.
Eventually, it wasn't just the shelf elves that they wanted. Their criteria became more specific to color once the shelf elves became in increasing supply (ie. when I started digging through the master supply for more of the blasted little things). The value went down as the supply went up, and soon the purple shelf elves were the new gold.
When all was said and done, they drifted away from the table and forgot all about their new discovery. What was just minutes before SO important was just a passing fad. Human behavior, right before my eyes!
And what more beautiful venue for the children to practice working out larger social problems--scarcity, getting their needs met while maintaining awareness of others' needs and desires, figuring out how to make everyone happy when all they want is a purple shelf elf--than during their play.
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