Plato said, “You can tell more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” You know what, Plato (sounds a lot like play-doh?), I couldn’t agree more. One of the greatest things now going on in our apartment is P-L-A-Y! I know this is in part due to the amazing progressive school the girls attend, The Miquon School, where I often long to restart my education from the beginning, in nursery school, or even kindergarten. My kinder have it so very good at this magical place where childhood is literally hands-on fun. The kids enjoy learning by doing, exploring, experiencing and well, playing. Independence is vital; curiosity is encouraged; respect for all is absolute. This isn’t just a community; it’s a diverse shtetl for greater childhood development and collaboration!
So, I digress and kvelled a bissel about the magic that takes place daily at our school! Nu! This enchanted, natural, outdoorsy place has an effect that is phenomenal on kids (and their families too). Why? Let me tell you. We live in a crazy, fast paced, over-connected, yet very dis-connected culture. It’s scary how little we really relate to each other now, despite all our techno advances in communications. I remember a time when you met a friend for coffee to ‘tawk,’ or just went to the bathroom in your own home without having to bring your iPhone along. Maybe that ages me more than my now gray-mop of a hairdo. But it’s true. I also remember the delight of receiving a letter by snail mail. No acronyms—all real words, handwritten with intent. How about seeing a photo in print, holding it, watching the colors fade over time. Enough!
About my kinder and play. The things that they are doing together are absolutely thrilling to me. The hottest stuff from our holiday haul: Classic dominoes, an antique porcelain American Indian doll, who of course, we said was Kaya’s kid-sister (yes, American Girl Kaya), a weaving loom, Lego’s, the original Spirograph deluxe set, and Jacob’s Ladder (yes, the one rumored to be in the tomb with King Tut himself!). Color me silly, but this is the stuff I played with a few too many moons ago. No batteries, no noises, no electronics (not that there’s anything wrong with them), no drones, no bones about it!
The giggly-fun that Little and Big have when setting up the dominoes, deciding whose turn it is to tap an end, and starting it all over again. Allo of our right cerebral cortexes are humming the happy dance. Their play is about discovery and the experience. It’s incredible.
Try if you can to get Jacob’s ladder from the Mrs., who has been dominating that little wooden wonder since the first unwrapping. One night, Big got a hold of it, figured out how it works, and went along to teach the Mrs., Little and me how it works. The gears are spinning in these brains. Curiosity isn’t killing any cats around here. It’s contagious.
And Spirograph! How many pens have we been through! The pleasure is all ours! Now, in true Mighty-Girl spirit, we can whip out the snap circuits and Big and Little rush to the floor to get started. Playing with circuitry, light switches, transistors and diffusers, building fans and lights…bring it on and add some more! My little Rosie Revere, Engineers (love that book) can’t get enough. We look around us and easily apply these newly constructed pieces to the ceiling fan, the volume on the radio, the lights. Voila! Questions, inquiry and thoughts are flowing…
Most important to this whole equation, I see my bubelah’s growing up to be innovative and creative, critical thinkers who will always love learning. Doctor. Lawyer. Engineer. Who cares? This Jewish momma will not be kvetchin’ or hockin’. They can become whatever it is they want to become, and they will work hard because they know and feel intrinsically that learning is an ‘F’ word—F-U-N. That is pretty damned amazing!
As play is concerned, it’s a wonderful time to be a kid. As the world is concerned, well that’s another post altogether.