One of my favourite picture books is Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis. She also wrote a book called Not a box.
One of my colleagues Elli, who is one of the most compassionate, kind and beautifully reflective teachers I have ever worked with, introduced it to me, a number of years ago.
When I first started teaching I had a hard time with yard duty. Although, I understood that there are issues with school insurance that restricted these activities, I felt like I constantly had to be the fun police against imaginative play; Don’t climb that tree, we don’t play with sticks and be careful with those rocks!
When Ellie showed me the book it gave me the opportunity to reflect on how far I had gone down the safety-first teacher rabbit hole. It re-framed how I could now approach the conversation when I saw a child with a stick in the yard.
A Note: This is may not be for every parent
As a parent, I have actively encouraged climbing, imaginative play with sticks, rocks and other items that may seem a bit risky. I like to think that it has helped them to develop problem solving skills and resilience while allowing them the space for their own creativity to emerge.
*The risk taking behavior I am talking about is within reason. I mean, I don’t encourage my kids to play chicken with cars and my boundaries around water are possible stricter than most.
A lot of my writing over the past couple of years has been inspired by these times when I was an active observer. See This isn’t a Rock.
My New Favourite Drama Warm up:
This isn’t a blanket!
Everyone stands in a circle. Get the class to ask in unison “What are you doing with that blanket?”
Then you say “This isn’t a blanket! It’s my hair. And I need a haircut!”
Other examples; It’s not a blanket it’s a picnic rug, a magic carpet, a ball, a tent. Let’s go camping, etc.
Go around the circle. Each time get the class to ask: “What are you doing with that blanket?” Some students may choose to copy and that’s fine. Copying is how some kids feel safe to explore something new. With encouragement over time they will come up with their own contribution
Variations: You could use a ball, a pillow, a box, a hat, a book, a bag, etc..
This will be the warm up for the second session in the Mindful Storytelling Summer Workshop Series, Dreams, Coming up on Tuesday the 17th of January at The Body Voice Centre in Footscray. Send me a message on Facebook or an email to book today.
Wishing you a week filled with the good kind of drama, imaginative play and risk taking!
P.S. I would love to hear your about your favourite drama or imaginative play activities. Please feel free to share them in the comment section below this post.