Sunday, January 15, 2012

Everyday Dramatic Play

This morning I discovered a great site for preschool teachers and families with young children.  It's called Teach Preschool: Promoting Excellence in Early Childhood Education.  The topic today is dramatic play in the classroom, with an opportunity to share links.

 Everyday Dramatic Play

Knees and Paws began in just the kind of classroom highlighted today in the Teach Preschool blog.  As a parent I observed children entertaining themselves and learning through an ongoing game they had made up.  They were so involved in playing cats and dogs that parents started saying things like  "my daughter has worn holes in the knees of her pants because even after school she'll come home and play this all over the house.  The only knee pads I can find are for sports and are too large for her tiny legs."  So, without any sewing skills, or even a sewing machine, I set out to make pairs of slip on knee pads for the children.  During the time I was working on these, I noticed that they were also using doll socks from the housekeeping center as paws.  So I added some furry paws and Knees and Paws were born.  Richard delivered the first basket of these sets to the classroom and the children grabbed them up and wore them so much that within two weeks, the teacher said that they needed some repairs. (Since that time, the quality has greatly improved!)

I began thinking about children and how important it is to encourage their imaginations, but also their physical activity.  Intuitively I felt that many children go through a phase of life where they pretend to be animals.  I didn't know how long this phase lasted.  If it lasted a week or so and passed into different forms of play, then maybe it wouldn't be worth sharing with a larger audience.  I felt that this type of play was significant and important for healthy development, despite that it might seem to be something not to encourage (parents might not like to see their child behaving like an animal!) Through their game, these children were learning important lessons about boundaries and fair play.  The more each child respected the rules of the game, the more fun everyone had.  They were entirely self regulating in this game of their own making.  No one was bitten or scratched, and when the game ended, they emerged from their game with flushed cheeks and ready for naps.  And though it might not be recognized, internal lessons were learned:  by imitating someone or something else, children begin to have a sense of their own identity in relation to the imagined counterpart.  They were also learning a sense of compassion for animals in that they now understood what it feels like to see the world on all fours.  This game taught them what it would be like if you could only communicate in barks and woofs.  They learned through playing cats and dogs that domestic animals are completely dependent upon others for food, safety and affection.

Here are a few photos from customers who have been overwhelmingly supportive of my project, and some from my recent collections.










Thank you for visiting Knees and Paws.  May your day be full of play!


9 comments:

  1. Wow - those are beautiful props for dramatic play! Thanks for sharing them with us today!

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Self regulating" is a concept that you and I have been discussing, Jenny, because it worked at the Dell. As you recall there was even a reality television series a few seasons back in which children occupied a village, established their own set of rules and practiced self regulation. Stretching the imagination is just as important as stretching the muscles during exercise. It benefits children and it benefits adults as well. In my motivational seminars the participants routinely took part in a process in which they interacted as various types of animals, wild and domestic. The images on display here are excellent promotional tools for marketing your products. Great post, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Shady,
    This is an interesting discussion. I don't remember ever seeing the reality children's series but it sounds like something I need to look up.

    I can imagine that the individuals in your seminar find that exercise in perspective to be extremely challenging!

    I have another friend through twitter who speaks publicly to educators and business executives. She purchased a set of my frog eyes headbands and has enjoyed the instant responses of laughter that allows her to talk about the importance of imagination and stepping outside of yourself. Thank you for sharing this comment. It has helped to add purpose to the creative process.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Deborah, I love your blog and really enjoy that I'm able to participate in today's post. Thank you for visiting and sharing that wonderful comment!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post my friend, and the photos are really wonderful. I love the racoon set being worn by Elliot in the last photo. Such a lovely tail! I know that Eli and Ruby are still having great fun with their sets. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I truly enjoyed getting to find out how Knees and Paws started. Although I've spent my whole career on middle school campuses, I am also certified in Early Childhood education, and that age fascinates me. You've hit the nail on the head when you talk about how strategically important play is in their development. Some cultures that value early academic accomplishments over play have found that as these children grow into adults, they are missing important parts of their social development. These are also countries where the suicide rate is higher.

    I love your pics. Makes me want to go outside and have a great day of play!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love watching children play, what wonderful photos you have shared with us today I love the costumes they are just so cute and cool...........

    ReplyDelete
  8. love learning how knees and paws came into existence! great story and wonderful pictures!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. These pictures are all so darling! I love children and animals. Children DRESSED as animals is even MORE fun! My kids would love the cute tails and ears. :)

    ReplyDelete

Search This Blog

Loading...
Banner and button design by me!