Overheard at Sunflower’s Seedling Family Kick-Off…
I close my eyes and let the sound surround me. These familiar sounds always make my heart beat a little faster.
Some of them are subtle, like the twang of a rebounding rubber band. Slightly less subtle is the toppling of what is most likely a tower of little blue connector balls followed by the exhalation of frustration. Some of the sounds are harsh and almost pull my eyes open, like a voice crying out “Hey, give that back!” I can smell the crayons melting on the hot plate and hear new friends chatting about what their favorite foods are.
An unmistakable snicker lets me know someone is up to no good. There are plenty of laughs too! There’s a warmth, energy and buzz that always accompanies imaginative play. The teacher announces that it’s time to move to a new spot. Then I hear the usual murmurs and grumbles and the hustle of feet. Now I hear everyone settling in their new spot and the tinkering exploration of a new toy.
When I open my eyes it’s a sight to cherish. I can’t help but let out a laugh because here, at 8:30pm, are over 40 parents and loved ones of young children.
And what lucky young children they are because their adults remember play!
The parents came together, just as their children will next week when Seedlings officially starts, to learn through play. Susan let them experience play, focus on nothing but play, just as their Seedlings will. Afterward, together they examined HOW they played and how they FELT about play. They talked about how Susan guided them through this experience to provide an emotional, hands-on lesson in how their children will play at Seedlings. Watching them in action, I was surprised to realize that some of the parents play just like their children do. We make incredible discoveries through play every day.
© Jonathan Iris-Wilbanks and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2011
This really was an incredible night. As much as I loved making melted crayon art with Eileen and pelting Victoria with foam blocks–my favorite part was hearing everyone’s stories about their own risk-taking and “yummy” play experiences as children. Without exception, I think everyone in the room was smiling. As a parent, I was inspired and excited to think about what lies ahead for my daughter this year at Seedlings. At Sunflower we talk all the time about how play is beneficial for children… but after spending time in play with my fellow Seedlings parents I feel like I *know* these benefits deep-down because I felt them in myself.