It started with a question.
“Can 5 people go to blocks?”
I typically turn questions like these back onto the kids, asking them if they think that will work. That day, I just said, “no, there’s not enough room”. Our block area was fairly small, and while 4 kids could squeeze in, there were often issues with not enough space.
“Well, then we need to fix that! Let’s change it so there is enough room!” said one girl.
“Yes! Let’s move the furniture. We need to make it bigger!” came the cries from, now, very excited kindergarteners.
In that moment I had to make a choice – to continue with the planned math lesson or to follow the kids and rearrange our classroom, making a bigger block area. I paused, took a breath and remembered what I believe. I believe that kids are capable. I believe they can solve problems and be persistent when faced with challenges. I believe they can, and should, challenge the way things are and question respectfully. I believe they are “can-do” kids.
So, we made a plan. We talked about what they wanted in the block area, what might work, how we could rearrange, and what we needed to make our classroom work for us. And then, we did the plan.
The kids decided to switch the Imagination Station with the current block area, allowing for more space in blocks and building, and a bit less in dramatic play, which was a huge area currently set up as a vet clinic. This class LOVES to build. It totally made sense that we have a huge space for building and making stuff. We began moving furniture, sweeping up the real life dust bunnies – while laughing at the connection to Jan Thomas’ Rhyming Dust Bunnies book, learning how to use the big dustpan, measuring the space and deciding what would fit where, and rearranging our space to work for the kids living and playing in that space every day. It was magical. I pretty much stood back and watched this take place, in awe of these kiddos.
Real life problems and real life problem solvers.
Capable kindergarteners recognizing a problem, making a plan, and solving the problem.
They can do it.
If we let them.