They worked it all out
S's family (the new 'S') donated a lemonade stand to the preschool today. The children saw it on the porch and immediately asked to bring it into the classroom. Being the experienced preschool teacher that I am, I knew that introducing it to the room while there were only six children (the other six had gone home already) was better than introducing it when there will be twelve children tomorrow. Why? Well, I explored the idea in yesterday's post : ) Children like novelty, and they like things that there are only one of.
Well, the introduction of the lemonade stand created a pandemonium of sorts with our remaining six children. Chaos, noise, everyone wanting turns to sell the lemonade, adjust the adjustable wooden clock on top, open and close the curtains. Lots of strong little wills bouncing about.
But these children have the skills to work out these situations (again, read yesterday's post), and they just had two weeks off for holiday break during which these skills had time to assimilate into their neural networks. And this situation proved to me that the information moved through the hippocampus from short- to long-term memory. We need rest to learn, and that's what vacations are all about! Proccccesssssingggg....
So I watched and waited to see when I would be called upon to intervene. I would surely need to help settle a conflict. That, my friends, was not the case at all. Within a matter of minutes, they had worked out who was making, selling, and distributing lemonade. We had a guy in charge of making and hanging signs. We had someone else in charge of making lemon cookies (because you can't have lemonade without lemon cookies). And, of course, we had the person in charge of putting salt and pepper in the lemonade because this is an integral part of the lemonade-making process.
I loved that I could just step back and observe years of coaching through social situations pay off. A friend of mine was just telling me how hard it is to work on a small team of three people at his company. The conflicting ideas and resulting delaying of deadlines proves to me how very important these social-learning contexts are for children. It's practice. But I don't want to undermine the significance of their play by making it an issue of "school readiness". Today is just as important as elementary school or adulthood or any other phase of life deemed more "meaningful". This is it, and today is all we have. I think the gift is that these children got to leave school today with the experience of working on a cohesive and harmonious team of co-leaders. What a gift.
I posted this on: