Jan 29, 2019

AnjiPlayDate update, January 2019

We've had two weeks of AnjiPlayDate so far this session and it has been BUSY!  Attendance has been over 50 people each week and the play has been fascinating.  Here are a few stories that especially warmed my heart during this super cold weather:

During the first week of the session, I met one new mom who was there because I had visited the Play and Learn class that she attends at the Lussier Center on Tuesday mornings and I had mentioned the program to that group.  At first, she was unsure what her role as an adult in this program was (she could tell it was different than Play and Learn), so I talked with her about the importance of carefully observing children in play to see what amazing things they might do.  I checked in with her a little while later and she was delighted to tell me about three situations that her son had figured out on his own, things that she would have stepped in to help him with before trying this approach.

The first was an intellectual risk -- he was building a tower of blocks and couldn't reach the top, and figured out by himself that he could use a circle block as a stepstool to get him high enough to reach the top of the tower.  

The second was a physical risk -- he was balancing with both feet on a three-wheeled scooter and he fell.  When he got back up, he tried standing on the wheels with only one foot and one foot on the ground and was more stable.  

The third was a social risk -- he wanted a four-wheeled scooter that another child also wanted.  She told me that usually she would step in and point out that there was another four-wheeled scooter nearby, but she tried just watching and pretty soon, he gave up arguing with the other child and went and found a three-wheeled scooter to play with instead.

She thanked me for this opportunity to try something new and this chance to be surprised by what her son could do on his own.  I congratulated her on her willingness to try this approach and shared her excitement about what she'd learned about her son.  This is a fantastic experience for a first-time attender and I can't wait to see what unfolds in upcoming weeks!
During week 2, another mom told me that she had shown her daughter the pictures and videos she'd captured during play last week and when her daughter was excited to watch them over and over and talk about them to both parents, she really could see how much her comprehension of what had happened during the play increased through that repetition.  It was so great to see this lightbulb moment for the mom!  She also told me that she decided to try letting all of her kids (two can't attend AnjiPlayDate because they're in school) sort out their own sibling squabbles and she was shocked at how quickly they stepped up their negotiation and conflict resolution skills as soon as they realized mom wasn't going to step in and fix it for them. 
Another mom who homeschools her children shared with me that she liked the play story notebook idea so much that she bought each of her kids a blank notebook to create their own play stories in more frequently!
These stories really drive home for me the impact that Anji Play can have on children beyond the time to play during the program itself.  Thank you to all of these parents for sharing their stories with me!

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