Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Playing Philosophy... the first fairy session...

Today we had our first philosophical dialogue with the 2-4 year olds at Filosofiska. Yesterday had made me a little nervous, it felt like most of the children had left their ears at home... so there was a whole load of thinking and planning to work out how to make this morning meeting different to set the tone of our discussion.

Ellen and I put chairs in a circle (we normally all sit on the floor) and I lit some candles that floated in a bowl of coloured water in the middle.

Last term we had introduced the speaking cone - that when you held the pine cone you were able to speak, if you were not holding the cone then you were to listen. The teacher leading the session also held a cone enabling the teacher to talk and guide the dialogue...
This term we had something new to symbolise the right to talk/be listened to (napkin rings - a clear one for the children to take turns with and a silver leader one... the aim is as the children become more confident with philosophical dialogues that the leader ring will be a child's responsibility too...)

just before the dialogue started

getting a chance to hold the talking ring before we started the dialogue

 There was a warm up session first where each child got a chance to hold the talking ring and share with everyone something that they can do...

  • can tidy up my room
  • can hang on a bar
  • can make a mess and blow out candles
  • can swim with waterwings (then all following comments were about swimming)
Then the dialogue started - Ellen lead the session while I wrote down all their ideas

"What are fairies?"
  • they bite, push, scratch shoulders and drink water - by themselves
  • they can fly with their wings. They are small. They are people. They can drink milk by themselves.
  • They can drink juice and water. They have candles on the table. They can swim and talk and play
  • they can't do anything
  • they... fairies read stories, books, read storybooks. They sing.
  • fairies bite, they fight.
  • They can live in trees, eat small sausages, they are usually kind. They live in trees. They usually meet some people in September - they are by the new pool, by the fountain. They are usually in the pool.
  • like in the forest, they go hunting. They have holes in the house.
 It was a really good first session with these young children... and it is really interesting to see how some children are influenced by what has already been said and others have their own ideas...
although I know where some of these ideas come from, having listened and observed them for the last week, and also realising how much they have been listening and observing me!

The "usually meeting people in September" I assume is one child's way of remembering us mention the International Fairy Tea Party last week, the sausages come from overhearing some other children talking with me about fairies go shopping for fruit and sausages.

The "hunting" I think might come from the fact we went hunting for fairies last week... but we will just have to wait for the next philosophical dialogue to dig a little deeper to find out what they mean...
"The hole in the house" bit could be that they thought holes in the trees where the fairy houses... but it could also be a possible opening for fairies in the house...

It was interesting to see how much focus there was on biting, pushing and fighting, so we will have to see how that develops - and it looks like we have our drinks for the fairy party sorted - water, milk and juice! But it made me smile that there was a focus that the fairies can do this themselves - there is so much talk about what they can do - and also our warm up talk had been about what each child can do!

We then went to the forest to have a good run around, play and explore... the children have free-range as long as they stay within sight of us teachers - and as we move with the children this does give them a large area to explore.
The play was fairies...
... they were either looking for fairies or being fairies, flapping their arms and swooping around the forest...

"look - I found an invisible fairy"

Three days in his "schooling in" and fully immersed in our project - "Have you found any fairies" - "No, I am a fairy!"
In the afternoon it was fun to see five of the children (although not all the five at the same time) form a circle of chairs and play "philosophical dialogue". They used a soft juggling ball as the talking symbol (so really showing they had understood the symbolic value of the rings and not that it needed to be something specific). They took it in turns to talk, the one holding the ball being the one allowed to talk - there was also some role-playing going on as I overheard one of the children saying "I am Suzanne" (feel VERY flattered that she wanted to be me... and was happy to see that I am portrayed as a nice person!!!!). As new children wanted to join there was some resistence, they moved their chairs from this newcomer to the game and put them against the wall... the newcomer did the same. I watched from the other side of the room, waitng to see what would happen and was so happy when the new comer was accepted and handed the ball to have her turn... and they did this "by themselves"

playing philosophical dialogue
I am smiling inside.
BIG BIG SMILES!

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