Sunday, 5 October 2014

Play

I am sat here... looking at old posts about play, having watched old films of my children 8 years ago... where I interviewed them about their likes, their dreams for the future, where they would like to travel... and the many many songs they liked to sing for the camera...

I am thinking about the first week of the course about play that I have done... reflecting on my own childhood and the play that I participated in then...

How does that differ from that of my children? Time and space is what I have come to the conclusion...

I had so much time to play... to daydream, to interact with other children of diverse ages... we lso had space... I was lucky, there was a big field behind our house for play, I lived on a cul-de-sac so all of us that lived there had a free range of the street and each others gardens... and we knew the street looked after us... we knew there were eyes watching us all the time... some neighbours more than others... but there was still a freedom... we were inventive with our games...

But, as I was saying to my colleagues it is quite interesting to remember just how much our games evolved into chasing games - even when they started out as role-play. And this chasing is something I see my preschoolers doing a lot of... mostly as witches these day, but there are princesses, dragons, mummies and daddies all thrown into the game too... the chasing games being mostly prevelant when the older children are with (5 yr olds) the 3-4 year olds play in role for longer before the chasing starts, if it starts. The chasing being part of the outside play... and we are outside for an hour or two of continuous play every day at least once, often twice.

I also remember form my childhood how we would play the same game for weeks and weeks at a time... I see the same thing happening with the children I work with. I am trying to remember why we did that... was it because it was fun for that long, or was it because we were trying to fine-tune the play? Maybe both?

I also remember doing things like jumping of the top of the slide onto the lawn... I remember my mother's face frowning at me through the kitchen window... at the time I thought it was because I just told the lie that I was "Wonder Woman" and had super jumping abilities... but as a parent myself, I assume it was because she didn't really want me jumping off the slide in the way I did... But I was given the freedom and the space to do that... and I recall and think of all the things that could have gone wrong if I did not jump high enough to clear the railing... but my Wonder Woman powers got me though it... actually to be honest that was a great disappointment of my childhood... spinning and spinning and there never being a flash of light and the ability to turn into Wonder Woman!!!!! Talk about fantasy and reality blurring together... but that is something I think I have never really lost... and the reason why I cannot watch scary films....

Talking of scary films... I sometimes wonder if children these days are being exposed to more scary stuff earlier than when I was a child...

I have met 4 year olds terrified of computers becaue their parents had reassured them that Gollum wasn't real and was just made by a computer... I have seen a 5 year old stranglehold another child as they act out Star Wars (and remember none of the children I work with understand English... so they are not understanding the film in the same way as English speakers - as films here are not dubbed but have subtitles). I have had preschoolers talk about their fears of trolls and whether they need to stick a wand up its nose...
I wonder sometimes why preschoolers watch these sort of films? What is the rush?
And having older siblings does not have to be the excuse... my daughters watched the Harry Potter films without their younger brother, waiting until he was asleep, or spending the weekend with grandparents... they also hade to read the book first (well I read them aloud for them and we talked about the content)...
I wonder about the time children have to be small... the time they have not to experience these kind of special effects that make imaginationa even more real... especially when the blurr is so large that it makes it hard for children to understand what is real and not real... as it doesn't matter how much we as adults try to explain, it is still their personal reaction and experience that matters the most...

I remember hiding behind the sofa as a child when the music of Dr Who came on... the music was
enough to remind me that the programme had scared me... and I was not a preschooler then either...

this was "my" doctor as a child... and despite it terrifying me I still played daleks at school. Image from British First Edition Stamps





Maybe we are breeding thicker skinned children these days? Is that a good thing though?

Now I am beginning to ramble again...

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