If you’d wandered by the pen this morning you may have noticed a bunch of kids playing on a sloppy, mild winter day. You might have thought “what a mess”, or perhaps “what on earth will they do in all this slush and muck?” You would have heard happy sounds and continued on your merry way, content that children were keeping busy with friends.
But if you’d stuck around you might have seen some pretty wonderful things unfolding! It always impresses us what we hear when we really listen, and this morning was a lovely example of that.
There were essentially 3 lovely activities unfolding, all initiated and directed by children, and all punctuated by some really beautiful conversations.
This started with Ambrose organizing his friends Clara and Gracie in a fun game of Ring Around the Rosie, in which they all spun about and landed in a heap of giggles and hugs at the end. It attracted more friends, and with every addition Ambrose was quite the ambassador; making room and welcoming all newcomers. He found ways to include lots of kids and eventually segued into a game of Duck, Duck, Goose. Again, as new classmates expressed interest in joining in Ambrose always responded cheerfully and requested everyone make the circle bigger so the new friends could fit. When June said she wanted to play, Ambrose said happily “scooch back everyone!”
This group played quite happily and cooperatively, responding positively to Ambrose’s cheerful and kind leadership, for about 45 minutes!
A few kids wanted to replicate the Petronas Towers they’d built inside yesterday, but outside this time. Evan reported that they’d created a stable base by pushing the pillars down into the snow. They wanted to check the height by comparison to the tower they’d built inside. They remembered that yesterday’s tower was up to Mrs. Carte Comb’s shoulder and used her as a reference point to see how this tower would stack up.
As the tower climbed higher it was wobbly and Evan commented it was more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa! He and Jack brainstormed how to make it more stable. When I wandered by again they were experimenting with slush, trying to see if they could “use it for cement”. Ultimately they decided that it was not a viable substitute because it was slippery.
The discussions that took place, contemplating design, measurement, stability, materials etc. was wonderful as it evolved over the course of the morning.
This group carried on a rather delightful conversation while they toiled away “cleaning up the flood in the museum.” As you can imagine, scooping endless shovel-fulls of water into a stack of bottomless tires is a thankless job, but this crew was committed. At various times the stack was a volcano and they were cleaning up the lava. At other times it was a flood in the dinosaur museum, at which point a discussion ensued about what happened to the dinosaurs. I listened as they kids discussed asteroids and meteors vs. old age as possible causes of extinction. They shared ideas, prior knowledge and rationale and never stopped scooping!
So much more than a mucky morning!