March 11, 2009

The Suspension of Disbelief

Yikes... it's been a long long time since I posted anything. I was afraid I might be dreadfully bad at this whole blogging thing. Oh well, this is just practice for the kids later on, right?

We've just gotten back from a fabulous ten day vacation to Hawaii. We saw and experienced some amazing things while we were there, and I look forward to another blog update soon with photos and details about that trip. Right now, I'm still processing the photos we took. Robert gave me a fantastic new camera for Christmas and I've had a whole lot of fun with it. I'm enjoying learning about photography and figuring out how to do some things. But I also took almost 4,000 photos on the trip and the processing is taking awhile.

So until then, another post about teaching.

Today was one of those days that I was really struck with why I love kinders so much. I tell people all the time that it's a really great age and I can't really imagine teaching anywhere else. Sure, the beginning of the year is difficult when they can't wipe their noses or butts and aren't really sure how to line up, push their chairs in, or go through the cafeteria line. But I do love to see the change and progression from the beginning until the end of kindergarten. They learn so much, not only academically, but about who they are and how to relate to others. It's just a really neat process to watch.

But the other reason I love kinders is because of their suspension of disbelief. When I was in college and doing a lot of theatre we talked about that concept a lot and how important it was as directors and actors to create a situation where the audience was willing to suspend their disbelief of the stage and believe fully in the action happening there. But kindergartners are so ready to suspend their disbelief and they will do it with such great abandon that it delights me.

We began our St. Patrick's Day unit today. I always start this unit by talking a little bit about leprechauns and what they do and what they're like. But then, when the kids go to PE or a special, leprechauns will come and visit our classroom. They play in centers, read books, leave little green footprints on the floor, and make a general disaster of our room. They also leave a note for the kids. When we all get back to the room the children are outraged ("What?! WE have to clean up THEIR mess?!") and enthused and curious and just so alive!! So we clean up the room, talk about what clues they left behind and then as a whole class write the leprechauns back. Thus begins the week-long pen pal relationship.

I just love how thoroughly the kids buy in to it all. Suddenly, what was once a messy desk is the work of Paddy. What used to be a missing pencil is all blamed on Looie. And on the way to playground I heard them all discussing the tiny boot footprints they could clearly see in the mud. Everything they view is suddenly through this new lens and go all out with it. What if we all trusted so completely in a suggestion?

Some may say it's just innocence or naivite. But I'm inclined to think that this suspension of disbelief is more than that. I think it's a gift, and a fleeting one at that.

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