Smashing pellets 1 from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
Was it an accident when he jabbed his stick into the corner of the tub closest to the girl? Or was it an overture to the girl asking her to look at what he was doing? Or could it have been an accident that led to an overture?
Smashing pellets 2 from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
At one point in this video, the boy jumping up and down came really close to the girl pouring pellets into her pail. She knew he was there, but did not seem to be phased with being so close to all his physical exuberance. Did she trust him that he would not bump into her? Was she simply holding her ground? Did he read her non reaction as a license to jab the stick anywhere and everywhere?
Smashing pellets 3 from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
In the book Lois Malaguzzi and the Schools of Reggio Emilia; a selection of his writings and speeches, 1945-1993, Malaguzzi in a speech from 1989 stated: "No act of the child after birth can be perceived as devoid of meaning in any way. That is absolutely not possible. ...there is no action, no act, no act in which a child is a protagonist or of which a child is a recipient, which does not contain meaning in it above all for the child" (p. 352). Granted, these three videos that make up the narrative are short, but what meaning do their actions have individually and as a dyad?
The focal point for most people watching the video has to be the physicality of the boy and how close he comes to bumping or hitting the girl. However with a closer look, a new focal point emerges: how they negotiate space while both go about their business at the sensory tub. That negotiation of space becomes an intricate dance between the two children. It is a intricate dance in which the boundaries keep shifting, in which the boundaries are constantly crossed and exchanged.
For sure, children are learning to self regulate. How else could they pull off their close encounters without getting into some conflict? But it turns out to be much more than self regulation. To regulate themselves, they necessary have to recognize ---at least tacitly---how the other regulates his or her own actions. As it turns out, self regulation is not exclusively about the self. Necessarily, self regulation is also about the dynamic interplay between others. In other words, self regulation turns out to be about mutual regulation, too.