At Find & Seek we are committed to involving parents of the young children we teach, at every step of the process of exploration of materials, storytelling and play. This Fall at the Red Hook Library, we will be having ongoing conversations with parents, in an effort to find out more about how their children play.
Here are some helpful links of books and articles we are currently reading:
Vivian Paley is a world class veteran kindergarten teacher, writer, MacArthur Fellow and our longtime mentor. She coined the term "Story Acting" and she has used it extensively in workshops with children around the world. We helped bring her to Red Hook in 2008, and here is that story. She has several books out about childhood seen through the lens of the early childhood classroom (Pre-K and K classrooms), that are very relevant reading for parents: A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play, You Can't Say You Can't Play, and The Girl with the Brown Crayon are three of our favorites.
Joan Almon of the Alliance for Childhood has written a new book Adventure: The Value of Risk in Children's Play. Joan is a great advocate of free play in early childhood and has been very instrumental in bringing UK Playwork over to the States. She also has an extensive background in Waldorf Education, which we pull from a bit in our work.
Speaking of Playwork, we are very interested in the concept and use of "Loose Parts." What in the world are they, you parents may ask? Well, they're simply the objects that your children use in their play. Rather, the ones that your children are able to pick up and manipulate, as they play (as opposed to tied down playground structures). The term Loose Parts comes from an essay written by Stuart Nicholson in 1972 called "The Theory of Loose Parts: an important principle for design methodology," that was published in the journal Studies in Design Education Craft & Technology (downloadable here). Now the term is consistently bandied about in educator and playworker circles, as adults discuss how children play and how we can provide props that are most helpful to facilitate healthy and meaningful fantasy play, in schools and on playgrounds.