Reflection: Saying yes

The last few weeks have been busy - in a good way. I have three children attending school in my home, three bubbling, smiley, bursts of excitement with feet (if excitement were to be embodied).

I anticipated the energy and explorative nature of young children when designing my space, but still there is room for improvement. I knew something needed to change because [1] we were spending too much time cleaning up (yuk!), [2] kids weren't focusing on any particular play scheme and were bouncing from toy to toy, [3] and I felt like I was saying "no no" way too much. I like to reserve the word "no" for when it is really needed so that it has more weight behind its meaning.

To both reduce clean up time and increase attention to activities, I cleared the shelves. Not completely, just enough to have a sample from various skill sets available. I chose activities that would meet a mastered skill and a developing skill for each child. My group isn't quite ready for cooperative games, like chutes and ladders, so those were removed. This will help to keep toys interesting, too, as I will be able to rotate them every few weeks based on interest and ability.

This is helping me as well. It is easier to redirect a child when there is only 2-3 activities in each center that are appropriate for them. I can more quickly determine if the child is upset and needs redirection to a mastered task or if they are bored and need a challenge. I'm not stuck scanning through games and puzzles, gaging ability on the go.

Another plus to this decluttering is that children revisit the same activities repeatedly. This gives them the chance to explore, test, reflect, and retry. They are little scientists, every one, and play enables them to do their best work.

So, I will keep looking for ways to say "yes" more and more during the day.