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HFP Community Inspired by Gorgeous Fall Palette to Create, Imagine, Play and Learn Sept 26 to Oct 21

The beautiful autumn in the forest was so picturesque that we ended up with over 350 photos! Please follow this link to the private google drive folder to see all the photos.

What Happened?

We made a community hand print tree, made music inside and out, danced with leaves, ran and caught leaves falling from the sky, read lots of interesting fiction and nonfiction books, made the talking stick, started our field journal, and brought some fabric to the forest for dramatic play. We made art with leaves and experimented by preserving leaves with glycerin for leaf animals and leaf crowns. The play has been evolving to include more children, their life experiences, and their interests. One group played house, another played Three Little Pigs, and then a restaurant and hospital. Our teachers help include everyone in the evolving play scenarios that mutate based on the rotating cast of characters including Doctor Community Centre, Nurse Caleb, Doctor Fairy Queen, the Hobbit, Pigs, Trolls, the Big Bad Wolf, and the Accident Prone Chef

What Does it Mean?

The groups are becoming more cohesive as the children become more comfortable to take the risk of playing more together. The children are increasing their capacity for self-regulation by engaging in Mature Dramatic Play or by engaging in parallel play near the children who are playing cooperatively. Reed Rhodes writes in the International Educator, describing the connection between dramatic play and self-regulation:

Not all play is alike. A special

kind called mature dramatic play

(MDP) produces the most ben-

efits for a child. This advanced,

open-ended play occurs when

children engage in make-believe

scenarios using props and dia-

logue. It has characteristics that

distinguish it from other types

of less advanced play. First, chil-

dren use both objects and ac-

tons symbolically to represent

other objects and actions. Sym-

bolic reasoning is a uniquely hu-

man trait that helped our species

to survive and thrive in our evo-

lutionary history. Second, lan-

guage is used to create a pretend

plot and to indicate what props

represent and how they will be

used. Third, the play has multi-

ple themes that are interwoven.

Fourth, the children assume vari-

ous integrated roles. Lastly, the

time frame for play is extended

so that children can continue

their play for longer time peri-

ods and over successive days.

Page 9

According to Grossman (2014),

the ultimate goal for children

in the early childhood years is

"to learn important knowledge,

skills, and attitudes that will help

them be successful in schoci

and later life." One of the most

important skills to learn is self-

regulation. During this period,

the most developmentally ap-

propriate way for your child to

practice self-regulatory behavior

is to engage in MDP.

Melter (2010) writes that

children who learn how to plan

a make-believe scenario, main-

tain a role, use real or symbolic

props, and help their peers are

learning self-regulation, which


"critically important for all as-

pects of academic performance."

Self-regulation skills allow you

to live, work, and learn with a

level of independence and pro-

ficiency appropriate for your

age. Acquiring the early building

blocks of self-regulation is one

of the most important and chal-

lenging tasks of the early child-

hood years.

What's Next?

We will continue to create our field journal, make art with natural materials, wonder and connect with nature and each other through many types of play. The connections with literature and children's personal experiences will continue to be explored through dramatic play and story telling. We will continue to explore other parts of the forest park while maintaining a connection with the special place by the bridge. We will look for other parts of the forest to make more play structures with fabric and sticks.

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