Oh my darling dearest what did you learn today? and why are you always oh so filthy? and come home covered in paint? Yet, I never see a painting, drawing or piece of art. To hang upon my fridge. But for some strange reason your teacher lets you draw. All up and down your arms and legs… (and yes) even on your face!
You spend all day outside playing in the dirt and mud but I really want you sitting down. Inside. Learning. To read and count and write!
You’re climbing trees and grazing knees and jumping off big rocks. You make mud pies and jump in puddles and run around in the rain. All you do is play my darling. Play, play, play, play, play. Why won’t you tell me please my darling dearest what did you learn today?
The paint I have all through my hair and on my shirt today. Well just let me tell you how it got there – it exploded right! off! the! page! Full of curiosity and ready to explore I began to mix the colours when…. I spilt some on the floor. I slowly dipped my big toe in. My smile now growing bigger. It felt so cold and wet and slippery and…… wooooosh! Crash! I was now the paintbrush!
My teacher silently approached me and lay some paper on the ground. This invitation I did graciously accept without making a single sound. Then…… I started to giggle uncontrollably. I was lost in the moment that is now. With my heart, my head, my hand and body communicating with glee. This is how I’m learning to understand all about me!
She embraced the mess. My fire and my flare. Allowing me creative freedom to experiment and investigate and just be me! Celebrating the significance of the here and now. Not focused on a ‘perfect’ print to take home for the fridge.
The stripes you see upon my face and down my arms and legs, were intentionally part of my master plan – my magical transformation! I became a rainbow tiger – courageous, brave and fierce. Wildly free and wonderfully me with my imagination now unleashed. My friend and I ran around and around. Laughed and roared. Leaped and jumped. Crawled and dodged our bodies around the playground – the thick and bushy bamboo jungle.
Now, far beyond the walls of reality. We pushed. We pulled. We even rumbled on the floor. But my teacher, she had trust in us and left us to explore. She thought we couldn’t see her watching from behind that bamboo wall. She was close enough so we felt safe but could see we were having a ball! She really couldn’t resist to play. So she even joined in too! She tossed a teddy over that bamboo and yelled, ‘quick! I’ve run away from the zoo.’
My friend and I, did we get hurt? No! We explored adventure, self-control, novelty and joy. We weren’t being naughty. Or aggressive. Or even misbehaving. I was just simply playing with my friend – the heroic rainbow tiger!
Today I climbed higher in the tree than I ever did before. My teacher cheered and commended me for my determination, focus and strength! She asked me if I felt safe and allowed me to decide. Giving me autonomy (even though I fell on my backside)!
She enabled me to take some risks and gave me time for challenge. When I couldn’t position my body up in that tree today. She didn’t do it for me. She asked my friend for ideas. Yes. You heard right. My friend! My friend, now the teacher could share their way with me. Building on their confidence and sharing their expertise.
When I climb and jump and fall. I’m facing fears, breaking down barriers and learning to assess risks. I feel empowered, audacious and beautiful! Powerful yet scared. Determined yet excited. Fragile yet resilient. And by doing these fun things right now I will learn to know my limits. Make good judgements to take care of myself and my friends. And believe me or not mum, it is here! Climbing up the tree where my writing journey will begin – seeing as I’m only three.
Count? You say you want me to count. But I’m capable of so much more. Why when I’m making muddy pies, filling and emptying pots and pans. Carrying and lifting. I am learning all about the world of mathematics, language, friendship and even science too! Volume and capacity. Weight, height and width. Consistency and shape. Velocity and flow. Speed, direction and movement. Independence and community. Story telling and pretending. Prediction and persistence. Nature and numeracy. Physics and collaboration. Gee mummy, I could go on all day long but count? Yes. I can learn to count but I’m capable of oh so much more.
So Mummy even when I can’t remember what I did all day. Please trust my teacher and trust in play because I have learnt a lot today!