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Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Today was Ellie's first day of preschool at Gearity. She's one of 18 kids, 8 with challenges, 10 who are "typical," plus four teachers and a host of other professionals. I have to say that it went well. There were no tears (from her), no nonsense, just exploring and a lot of look-see, like what is this place and where is my place in it? I think she may buddy up with a little girl called Olivia, but I'm not pushing her towards any friendships that aren't of her own devise. I need to let her find her own way socially. Will tomorrow go as well? When it's a real three hour day? Who knows?

Friday, August 22, 2008

See also Three Degrees Later....

My theory about toys is this: it's not about what the toy can do, it's what the child can do with the toy. This is why I am way, way over toys that blink, sing, shake, sparkle, and generally act like a mental anesthesizer for the girls. I realize that a lot of research goes into toy manufacturing and marketing. However, after working with Ellie in play therapy for three months, plus everything else I've learned about early childhood in graduate work, I am convinced unless toys encourage children to ask the following questions, they need to be thrown out.
--what does it do?
--what CAN it do?
--what can I do with it? (how can I, within my power and knowledge right not, act upon this thing at this moment)
--what else can it be used for?
--if I do this to it, what happens?
--can I mimic something I already know with it? (I have found this to be true with anything that vaguely resembles a phone...if it looks like it could have a receiver and a mouthpiece, Helen is talking into it).

Right now I am into wooden toys, not for their greenness or hoity-toity "it fits into my design asthetic" ness, but because they are very "blank" for Ellie. They require her to explore and act upon them in ways a lot of toys do not. I am interested in Plan Toys especially, and am going to browse their website soon.