The long awaited unit 2/3 playground re-construction is well underway. It’s a mess! It’s noisy! It’s dusty! There’s less outdoor playing space! BUT… oh how exciting! All children have wandered down to the safety fence this week to see what’s going on and some children have been transfixed by construction tools, machines and workers. Regular announcements ring out. The cement truck is here! Some children are checking the plans with which they are quite familiar. It’s just as well Luke and the other builders can cope with a few constructive comments!
With the restricted play space, children from the beginning/end groups are playing together, moving between unit 1 playground, verandahs and the open space near the construction fence. Yes, it is busy. Yes, it’s more crowded and yes, there is potential for challenges. It’s also an opportunity for growth as children have an opportunity to get to know different children, adjust to the increased busyness and get to know teachers they haven’t met before.
The ‘merging of the tribes’ is an absolute joy for some children to have extended freedom of movement and social opportunity. For others, there are concerns with this change. Adjusting to increased numbers in the space, sharing resources and equipment and talking with less familiar teachers are some of the challenges.
These challenges can also be viewed as opportunities for children to build some coping strategies, skills and resilience. Children have an opportunity to express their concerns and problem-solve together. Some children are practising being brave to speak up about a worry or to talk to an unfamiliar child or teacher.
There will be further challenges! When children are sharing restricted space and bouncing ideas, there are sure to be conflicts. Is this a constraint? No, on the contrary, they provide more learning opportunities! Sharing, seeing from another child’s perspective, taking turns, negotiating, compromising, being flexible are some of the many life skills children will practise over the next few weeks.
This is a great opportunity for children to be helpful and kind and welcoming. We have noticed many moments of kindness and quiet smiles and these smiles can only grow as they become more familiar with each other.
We’ve had to be patient this year waiting for this playground: another life skill. Just imagine the joy when it is finished!