Friday, May 16, 2014

A Story for the Girls, Part 2: A Theory

Pretend play based on the movie Frozen continued for the entire year.  We read a beautiful version of The Snow Queen and after finishing the story, which took more than 2 weeks, the children immediately wanted to read it again.  We have gone on to other Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales.

The children also wrote their own stories and performed them in circle.  These stories combined many characters from disparate sources; movies, invented characters, and video games.

Robyn and I went to see the movie Frozen earlier in the year so we would know the story the children were playing out.  There were some parts that we questioned, and we were surprised that the children were drawn to Elsa, when Anna seemed a more likely hero.  After all, Elsa was challenging - "she couldn't control her system." (Caroline, 5)

This is what I have come to believe:

Many people celebrate the fact that Frozen is, at last, a Disney movie in which the princess is not rescued by a prince; and that is refreshing indeed.  I think it has captured the children's interest for a variety of reasons, (beyond dresses and costumes) including the love of two sisters.

But I believe there is a deeper reason that this movie has taken their attention so completely.  I do not think it is a coincidence that the children, who are all working hard to learn to control impulses and make generous choices, who sometimes make mistakes and hurt others in spite of their love and desire to nurture, who may be separated from their closest connections as a consequence of not having that control; are drawn to a hero who has power that is at first beyond her.  She is a hero who unintentionally hurts someone they love, who suffers, and regrets, and tantrums, and puts herself in "time-out".  But in the end, a hero who offers hope and reassurance:  transgressions can be righted and power can be harnessed.  Maybe they too can gain control, as we know they will, and transform that unruly, unpredictable quality of their own power at this stage in their life, into the capacity to bring wonder and joy to others.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Towards the end of each school year we create a chain of paper links, one for each remaining day that we will be together.  This helps children comprehend, a little more, the elusive quality of time.   This is the beginning of saying goodbye, it is hard for all of us.

“Hey Indie, come and look, I can show you how many days we have left to be together.  It’s not that happy, there’s not that many days, come and see”.
Noah, 4-30-14

We begin to talk about saying goodbye, about ways that people stay in touch.  We also begin to talk about kindergarten to check on common misconceptions, like kindergarten begins the week after preschool ends.  They often don't realize the long summer between.
There are also fears about kindergarten; it is a mysterious thing that they hear about a lot, but they dot know what to expect.
Next week a kindergarten teacher will come to circle so that the children can ask her questions.  Then on another day we will visit the Sabot kindergarten because the children asked to hear what it is like from the current kindergarten class.
We invite you to send a photograph or something your child might like to share about the school they will attend next year if they would like to.