’round and ’round in the Circle Game

Abeona held an Open House last Wednesday evening, showcases many of the ongoing projects the kids’ are creating and welcoming old and new friends, teachers, and community members into the school. The school looked fantastic. It is sometimes difficult to see all of the projects and activities occurring during daily pick-ups and drop-offs — this was a great opportunity to really examine how the kids are exploring their world and see the kind of things they create to understand it.Earlier in the week, I chaperoned on a walking trip to the library (where the kids got their very own cards and checked out their own books), and took the opportunity to take “standards” of each child and get a class picture. The teachers hung the pictures in the school’s main hallway to show our “Abeona family” — it was a great display. I loved that the walls of each room were filled with documentation: stories, songs, conversations, projects, and pictures. The space reflected how the kids were encouraged to create expressively and freely. A somewhat related aside. During the few days I spent in Mobile, I took the kids to the Gulf Coast Exploreum. We happened to be playing in The Wharf as a local Mom’s group gathered. Everyone was very nice and we joined the fray, all the kids playing nicely together. After a little while, a staff member read a story about dinosaurs and gave the kids supplies to make dinosaur shapes by painting on foam cut-outs. It was a great project and the older kids were eager to dive in. I sat back and watched Will accept his piece of paper, select a dinosaur, can of paint, and brush and get to work. Although I stayed nearby (mostly guarding the rest of the kids from Kate, who was exploring the area), I didn’t intervene in Will’s project. I was the only parent who didn’t. Further, the other parents were completely directive of their child’s projects: guiding their hands as they painted, showing them where to put the dinosaur so that each press was spread along the paper, helping them push each side of the foam neatly and evenly. I thought, What kind of fun is that? Will was among the younger in the group but he handled it all just fine. I wondered that if I weren’t constantly confronted with evidence of my child’s ability to create on his own, would I hover so? (Honest answer: without a doubt, yes.) Not to be hard on the Moms (I’m sure to some degree they were worried of the kids making messes in public) — but maybe we Moms need a course in how to incorporate Reggio methods at home. I think that sometimes Moms need some help knowing how to help our kids be kids — and get tips from the professionals on how to make it easy from start to clean-up.