Providing Time for Dramatic Play
-Learning at Longworth Forest-
How many Parents and Teachers take the time to sit and watch a child’s dramatic play? The demands placed on our daily lives do not often allow us the privilege of spending time observing and listening. If we decided to prioritise what learning is important in the classroom, we may be able to make time for this important practice.
This week I had the privileged of sitting and observing a group of Forest learners during their self chosen dramatic play. Firstly, they constructed a new bridge between two existing structures. This bridge building required some planning, an understanding of stability and a great deal of team work. Trial and error followed the planning, the bridge was constantly tested to see how strong and stable it was and then finally, our learners knew when it was completed because everyone could stand on it safely. The conversations and discussions throughout the process were constant. Each learner learning from each other.

After lunch the bridge turned into a boat as did the two other bridges. Our learners divided themselves into boat builders and proceeded to work in these small groups to load their boats with provisions for a ” trip to London”

The provisions were made from natural materials in the Forest. Soups and stews were concocted from grasses, moss and dirt. The scurrying around for these resources happened naturally without interrupting the flow of the dramatic play.
Next, oars were needed. Spades and sticks were transformed.

One of our learners suggested they all take photos as they sailed past the Queen’s palace. Then, quite abruptly, boats became pirate ships! Another call went out that sharks had been spotted and they all had to save themselves. The separate groups joined together to assist one another with words of encouragement. So engrossed were these learners that no-one was aware I was observing and taking photos.
Not only should we take the time to observe children at play but more importantly we should allow time for children to play. Providing time for uninterrupted creative, dramatic play ensures that our learners are operating at the highest level of creative thinking.
We cannot effectively teach the skills that these learners practised during that afternoon. I could only observe and marvel at their social skills, their problem solving and their creativity. The twists and turns occurred quite naturally in their narrative and in the way they organised their social groupings.
I am so pleased that time enabled this to happen.

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