Maybe if we approach each child, each group of children, as an unknown entity, we will be inspired to discover the infinite possibilities that exist for the temporal organization of early childhood spaces. Kathleen Kummen
A group of 3 year olds sit on the carpet happily wiggling. There is joy in the movement and, as if they were all puppets connected by one string, they bounce and toss and shake. One shouts with the beauty of this connected communal dance and everyone joins in. Now all are shouting and bouncing, all are smiling and yelling and jumping. It is a happy mess of chaos.
The difficulty is that this is supposed to be circle time, where songs are sung, books are read, rhymes are chanted. The educator and I look at one another, and shake our head. Neither of us can bring order to this.
So here’s the obvious question; who is circle time for? It’s a question that keeps raising it’s controversial head with ECEs I talk with. Who are the routines for? Why do we have this regular schedule that dictates our day with children?
Educators I’ve been talking with are conflicted: the idea of particular routines and practices are so embedded that we can hardly conceive of doing things differently even when all evidence in front of us tells us that change is warranted. Do we really want to wrestle kids down so that we can tell a story? Do we really need to interrupt a fantastic dramatic play because the clock says it is time to tidy up? Do we want to shut down a big outdoor game of ‘trucks going to work’ because it’s time to play inside?
Who are doing it for?