Saturday, 24 September 2022

From back behind them

 We've got a set of Unit Blocks in Sun Class and a set in Moon Class.

R and K were playing with them, and also with some of the wooden story figures, and a gorilla.

Sometimes, the building came to the fore.
Sometimes, it was the story telling and acting out with the small-world figures. R's mum later told me that R had watched King Kong in the summer.

Other people, including me, were also contributing to the Unit Block construction.
R was kind of telling a story as the characters acted it out.
Normally, it's the students who ask me if I can write down stories for them ("helicopter stories"). This time I asked. R and K told this story together, with R leading the way:

"They all heard the noise from back behind them. They turned round. They all jumped when they saw King Kong."

I was really struck by this part. It describes a moment of surprise in a way that the PK students stories usually don't. And the surprise hinges on a spatial arrangement. At first the character blocks were facing away from King Kong, not conscious of his presence. Then they turn around, and only then do they realise to their shock that King Kong is there.

We often act out our stories together, and acted out this one as I read it out. Again, there was the dramatic moment of all turning round and seeing that King Kong was there.

And this is what I wonder: Did the small world enactment of the story - the staging of it together -  help to introduce this dramatic - and geometric - moment into the story telling?


  1. Yes!
    Your playful pedagogy sees no borderlines between disciplines. When we adults put the disciplines in boxes … literacy… maths…. Art… music … we stifle their natural relationships / interplay and creativity suffers. Your natural following of ‘play’ and it’s disregard borderlines allows that creativity an enriched palette- such as this moment. Simon - your pedagogy has a gorgeousness to it, it gives space for their creative awakening!

    1. Yes, I was thinking how one of the features of play that confounds our expectation is that it doesn't stick to one of our adult 'domains' - maths, block play, storytelling, drama, social interaction... We can see learning more easily when it's in separate boxes, but it seems to work better when it's combined into an integrated network of explorations - play.