I was sitting on the floor in our dramatic play area of the classroom. It was set up as a fire station, and four children were working together in the fire truck in various states of dress – helmets, goggles, fire coats, etc…
Child A declared, “You have to put the helmet on before your goggles. Does everyone have gloves?” He then grabbed some gloves to distribute to his peers – “Take any gloves you want.”
I watched as he distributed gloves and Child B ended up with a pair of gloves that were much too small. He declared (after a peer asked for help with the steering wheel), “I’ll fix it after I put these stupid gloves on.”
My first instinct was two-fold – talk about the word ‘stupid’ and get him some bigger gloves from the storage closet. But I did none of those of things… I sat, waited, and observed.
The two children worked together trying to get the gloves on Child B. Child A went looking for different gloves, but it’s the Spring before kindergarten and they’ve outgrown so many things.
Child B asked the group, “Can someone help me put my other glove on? Who’s gonna help me put my other glove on?”
Child A concluded, “It doesn’t matter. Some firemans have only one glove. In fact, one day skiing, my glove fell off the ski lift.”
And play continued and that particular firefighter happily had only one glove.
Because of those “stupid gloves” and my sitting back and observing, these children worked on:
- Persevering through a difficult task
- Using words to get needs met
- Understanding measurement and comparison
- Peer connections
- Flexibility in thought
- Working with frustration and disappointment
What other developmental tasks did you observe?