I was tired for sure, but as it turned out, I was also inspired by the people and their efforts at Grace Early Childhood Center in Belton. So much so that I have to share some of the inspiration.
For this workshop, the participants had to build after I presented them with a framework for building apparatus in and around the sensory table. In addition, I presented them with axioms of how children play around the built structures at the sand and water table. (The framework and the axioms are in the right-hand column of this blog.) In anticipation of the workshop, they had collected all kinds of materials such as cardboard boxes, cardboard tubes, PVC pipes, guttering, etc.
As the participants started to build, I could not help but think that this was really a pop-up adventure for these teachers. Here is a picture from a pop-up adventure for children from my retirement party last June. The children could build anything they wanted with the materials on hand. Adults were there to help only if a child asked.
I arrived in Belton on Thursday night after dark. It is always a little disconcerting for me to arrive in a new place at night. On top of that, I arrived in a storm. It was raining hard. There was a lot of lighting and thunder. The wind was blowing hard. The next day at the workshop when I reflected on the disquiet I felt coming into this new place just the night before, I could not help but think that some of the staff at Grace Early Childhood Center might be having some misgivings about going to this new place of building to which they had never been before. During the course of the workshop, several even mentioned that they were not comfortable with the building process. Despite not feeling comfortable building, they made 17 different apparatus for their tables. Not only was I inspired by their ingenuity and their imagination---no two apparatus were the same---, but I was inspired by their effort to throw themselves into this endeavor for which there was no blueprint, nor specified outcome.
I want to thank Jan for inviting me down to do the workshop. I also want to thank both Jan and Jill, the principal, for making me feel so welcome and to make sure I had everything I needed. And, I want to thank the staff at Grace Early Childhood Center for playing along---and inspiring me.
If you are going to the Washington AEYC conference at the end of October in Seattle, you can see my presentation on sand and water tables in on Saturday morning the 29th from 9:00 - 10:30. If you are going to the NAEYC national conference in LA, you can see my presentation on Thursday afternoon November 3rd from 1:00 - 2:30.