"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


Is it real?

Dear J,

So today, Mrs. Turkey came to Kindergarten Music class.

(She apparently does not realize she's a puppet.  Or that she's not an elderly English lady.)

Me:          Mrs. Turkey, why are you hiding your head?
Mrs. T:     Oh, oh, oh! Don't you know it's only two weeks until my special day?  I'm getting my beauty rest!
Me:          Uh, Mrs. Turkey, do you know why your day is so special?
Mrs. T:      Oh, yes! It's when everyone admires ME, because I'm so bee-YOU--ti--ful!

At this point, the kids could barely contain themselves.  Their voices scrambled all over each other, trying to set poor Mrs. Turkey straight about what 'really' happens on Thanksgiving Day.

At the end of class, one boy came close to my seat.  We'll call him Jon.

Jon:          Missus N, maybe Missus Turkey wants to come to our house for Thanksgiving.
Me:           Hmm.  Why would that be, Jon?
Jon:          We do not eat turkeys at our house.
Me:           You don't? What do you eat instead?
Jon:          Tofu turkeys.
Me:           Oh.  I guess that might make Mrs. Turkey much more comfortable.
Jon:          I like her.  She probably would like me best.
Me:           Maybe so, Jon.  We'll ask her about that, next class, OK? She's sleeping right now.
Jon:          OK.

Started me thinking once again, J, about the line between 'real' and 'play',  and how often truth winds its way between the two.

Children are naturals at this.  They live in both worlds so easily, often simultaneously. It's part of what makes teaching so fun---telling stories, talking to puppets, singing songs that are juicy with rich words and storylines.

When I engage kids directly, when I'm in the game with them, everything comes alive.

When we're all playing,  the learning becomes real.

Not sure where that's headed, J.   Just thinking about it some more today.

Makes me wonder why we spend so much money and time and effort, as a society, on standardized tests and mechanized assessments,  when what our kids need is more time to play.

 More time to discover the outdoors, that natural classroom, and create songs, and read stories--- to help them find their way in life.

 Stories and songs and nature:  play, that's alive, that provides kids with the strengths and skills they need in the real world.

Sometimes, the 'real' world and 'play' are the very same thing.

Just thinking.

more later.

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