I was just looking over the full day kindergarten schedule at our local public elementary school. I see a lot of shallow learning (X & y in January. Really?) and a lot of shallow play of short duration (one half hour recess, one half hour of ‘Free choice’).
Meanwhile, my kids were continuing their map adventuring from yesterday, planning a pirate play to go dig up buried treasure. They rehearsed, had props, the whole shebang. I pulled out some bandanas for them to wear, and played my doumbek for them, too. (Gotta have island natives, eh?)
They put a blue blanket on the floor and said it was the water, then Big D took some small boxes and rocked one back and forth on the other, saying that was the water pump to get water onto the stage to put their ship in. Did I mention that we were looking at a book on Egypt yesterday (to see life in a desert biome), and it showed just such a pump used for irrigation? >:)
They were all singing and dancing, and pulling out their maps, and using their flashlights like spyglasses. Beara pulled out all her diva stops and was very dramatically looking out over the bow of her boat to the distant horizon, and working arms akimbo to bushwhack around the tropical island. Buddy repeated everything she did, and unearthed a small playmobile treasure chest that I put a couple of leftover chocolate gelt in from over the holidays.
I tried so hard not to crack up when Big D started calling her siblings ‘my mateys.’ She put a bead necklace on one of her elephants, and said “most pirates have parrots, but WE have an *elephant*”. Daddyman and I agreed that the other pirates would be very jealous. He then dug out a puffin and an ostrich so the other two could have mascots, too. Then he played island native, and I sped up the drumbeat (between camera shots) to signal that the pirates had been spotted!
This is DEEP play, following DEEP learning. THIS is what I want for my kids. Heck, this is what I want for all of us!