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I can help

I can help

How might the process of creating, imagining, or inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community?

This is one of the questions we included in our letter of intention. Playing with materials (and each other!) offers lots of opportunities for the children to make sense of the idea of community.

We started the school year with the book, I Can Help by David Hyde Costello. When we introduced this text, our intention was to support the children to see themselves as resources to each other. A couple of days later, D. noticed A. and E. making “snakes.” D. was so curious and he asked me how to make one. I responded to his question by asking him, I wonder if one of your friends has a suggestion for you? Then, to my delight, A. stood up and said in her gentle and reassuring way, “I can help.” Without hesitation, she modeled how to make a snake for D. A few days later, A. and I sat down together and looked at these pictures. I asked her what happened when she was playing with clay and her friends, E. and D. Her ideas flowed:

I got some clay. I rolled it up a bit.

Then I squeezed it and made it easier to roll. Then I rolled it into a snake.

I rolled it forward and backward. Look (pointing to her hands in the photo), you make your hands get bigger and bigger. When you get to the end, you stop rolling it and you go back to the center and do it again. It gets longer and longer.

Then I gave it to D. I was doing friendship, like when you do something for somebody. Like when you get them some clay. Or you can make something for them that they don’t know how to make.

I showed D. how to make a snake. Now he knows how to do that thing!

When you read this encounter, how do you see a sense of purpose and belonging being developed?

October 20, 2017