Friday, April 28, 2006


My children have hardly been to playcentre since before we went to Fiji, we've had too many diseases and the break between terms as well. A couple of weeks ago after we'd had potions at the breakfast table and waterplay in the car I started missing playcentre rather a lot.

Today as soon as the children got up they started talking about doing potions at playcentre. We're very much into an emergent curriculum here (here in my head, here at my playcentre, here in New Zealand's early childhood sector) and so I made a mental note that potions would be done.

Quite some time later I finally got a moment or two without something else coming up and I rolled a circular table out through the door on its rim (it's a very satisfying table to roll, about as tall as me and quite weighty) and then I collected up the potions. What is that "potions" that it is? Well, it's always a lot of mixing bowls, spoons, a fair bit of flour, and some other stuff, in this case some blue and yellow tempura powders, a bowl of red water with droppers for dropping drops, and a relaxed demeanour. Oh yes, you really need the relaxed demeanour.

Potions starts off gently enough; children stirring bowls with coloured powders in them, passing them droppers, seeing them think about the changes, talking about the colours
"Look Mummy, I made it green!"
It soon starts to accelerate, the stirring gets wilder, the powder is flying in the air, a child brings a bucket over from the waterplay table. People use their hands to do the mixing. They bring over a bit of sand and collect some grass to mix in. They find some paint pots and empty them in. Excitement builds, hoses get brought in, children are pouring their potions into each others' and negotiations need facilitation.

Shortly afterward I was scraping uniformly bluey-green gunk of several viscosities off everything while four or five parents were changing children's wet and astoundingly gunky clothes.

We've got a whole lot of kids with transforming schemas on our session and oooh, potions to them are like a relationship to an adolescent: an example of the thing their brains are built for learning about at this age. It makes for raw passion and messy play.


Blogger said...

The memory of potions made me smile. Thanks for that!

3:59 PM  

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