Today was one of those days I just watched, clicked my camera and totally enjoyed all of the play I am blessed to observe. As I watched I thought and as I thought then I giggled! I was thinking back to my days of teaching a mandated curriculum. We had an “investigation unit” we were required to teach called “Things That Roll”. We had things to prep and gather and put out to set the unit in motion and all of the children were expected to glean wonderful knowledge from this teacher led unit. Today I sat and watched a group of children unfold their own ideas with things that roll. There was I needed to set up, those that discovered rolling items intrigued other students to join in their rolling fun and I just sat back and loved every moment of it.
I watched children on this hill for well over an hour if not more. They rolled bike tires, a table frame, a sled, and a seat pad. They chased their objects down the hill, retrieved them and rolled them again and again and again.
I listened to screams of excitement as they rolled far across the play ground. ALL THE WAY TO THE BRIDGE! I heard “did you see it jumped the tube and kept rolling”, “can I have a turn when you’re done?”, “You roll it and I”ll go get it”. One time the big table frame crossed the path of the bike tire and they rolled inside one another and then rolled separate ways. I can’t begin to share the squeals of excitement on that once in a life time trick.
Next the children discovered that they could roll the items down toward the boat, the items would jump a hump of dirt and land in the boat. SCORE!!!!! Then the objects rolled so far they jumped a water tube and went down the path. I was in awe right along with the children. In the several years I facilitated that “Things That Roll Unit” never did I observe the joy that I did today.
As I watched the group of children on the hill I looked around our play ground and truly marveled at all of the rolling going on around me at that moment! This play occurs on a daily basis and I thought to myself it’s not a unit to be studied in a week, month or year. Rolling objects making connections and building upon their knowledge means having these items available to them to PLAY WITH daily for years! By allowing children the freedom to play they are making connections to physical science far greater than any adult led curriculum can touch upon.
Now, I am on the hunt to throw more round junk out there and see what is rolled next. Hmmmmm maybe it’s time to bring out a bowling ball!