It is quiet — I watch them play. Indeed ‘quiet’ probably isn’t the best word to use since there is a lot of noise and movement in the play room. The children are deeply engaged in activities of interest to them so by ‘quiet’ what I mean is they need very little from me.
Sometimes I feel like maybe I should be teaching something instead of just observing. I have a list of planned activities that I could be doing with them. I have boxes of stuff that I could bring out for them but they don’t need it. They are busy, I check my email to distract myself and avoid interfering in their play.
Then I hear the question – actually first there was a correction as one child informed the other that he had made a mistake.
‘Those two don’t belong together’ he said.
‘They are red’ the other child replies as he takes the pieces apart and looks at them.
Together they spread out all the pieces and compare all the pieces. ‘The bumps look different’ one says as they group the similar pieces together.
They combine the pairs to form all three toy fruits correctly. Then the first child takes them apart again — one at a time to examine them more closely – like he’s not sure what the difference is.
I understand the problem – after all, these are just toys. Real fruit has more impact – it engages all the senses. I disrupt their play and tell them to clean up for snack. They wash up and arrive at the table to see this;
Which they quickly rearranged like this;
They were very excited. They were also quick to point out that they don’t like tomatoes – except the green part on the top feels nice.
We examined the inside too – comparing real to imitation. ‘The apple should be white inside’
I gave them each a bowl with some of each of the fruits and a plastic knife. They both asked me to not give them any tomato but were reassured when I told them they didn’t have to eat it. They practiced cutting bite size pieces.
And they both told me that red peppers are their favourite so I learned something new too.