Google+ bakers and astronauts: Musing

15 February 2012


I've been thinking a lot about imaginative play - it has a lot to do with my thesis, but imaginative play is at the forefront of my mind most days as I watch children play.  I don't have any pictures to share with you today, but instead, an idea:

How realistic is it for us to tell children to "be quieter" or "slow down" when they are engaged in imaginative play?  If they are pretending to be chased by a tiger, walking is unrealistic, right?  I know that when we are playing inside, we have to be safe, and walking is safer than running.  I guess I should propose this from a different point of view:  can adults really justify being angry when children scream or run after an adult has told them not to do it again?

I have seen children beautifully engrossed in imaginative play, screaming at the top of their lungs when a monster comes near them or sprinting away from a bad guy.  I know it is unsafe, and I have asked children to stop certain actions, but I can't take it personally if they don't.  Because those adult parameters are not what is on their mind first: their role and the roles of others comes first at that time.  A good parallel might be how "don't hit" is a mantra that even children can repeat and a child can tell you that hitting isn't nice; but emotions can boil and hitting is a reaction for some children when they are angry.

I've been thinking a lot about my actions as a teacher, and how I need to step back more often, think of the different perspectives involved in a conflict, and consider how a problem might be solved in the long term rather than immediately.



  1. I've been thinking along similar lines lately Allie - we have lots of cat and dog imaginative play at the moment which inevitably involves much noise and chasing. We try to send them outside to chase, but they do become so engrossed in their play that they forget - or it just doesn't suit their purposes to do so. The noise drives me nuts, but doesn't seem to bother them so I guess it all boils down to it being my problem and not theirs.

  2. Some who have worked with me say my room can be too loud and too rambunctious. That said, I am constantly gauging the activity level and the noise level in my room and how it affects others. There are times when children in their loud play actually frighten others. At times like that I like to support the child who is frightened or doesn't want to play the game to tell the other person or people that their actions and volume are scary. Sometimes it takes a bit more support from me and sometimes very little. More often than not the children will be able to tone down their play when they know it is unsettling to some of their classmates.

  3. Here is from a parent perspective: my son is ALLWAYS pretendending to be some animal! All day long! He runs like a horse through the house even though we have neighbours under our appartment, he roars and makes all those differet noises that animals do. It almost became his second nature :) I usually don't try to calm him down, but sometimes I have to remind him of our neighbours... after all he is not trying to be nusty by doing this.
    I am curious about your thesis: what is it about? I am also doing a thesis that deals with play, toys and art. Wish you luck!

  4. I try really hard not to be a teacher who says "scoot back" the second the children sit down! I have also been trying to let the children be the mediators of loudness and action, so instead of asking children to quiet or slow down, I have been directing them to other children (who are sometimes holding their ears). Allowing the children to tell each other when loud sounds hurt ears or when too much action is scary seems less invasive to me, somehow. But I'm not sure...

  5. I think you all touched upon the idea that children have a higher tolerance than we do for noise and action. I like the idea of having children be the monitors - it is important to remember that it is everyone's space, not just one that adults get to make final decisions about.


Thanks so much for joining the conversation!

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