Let's pretend I just found this dog. Look, mama! A cute little dog! Can we keep her?
But, she's not ours!
(This last part is said while giving me a look like, "You'd steal another person's dog?!")
These days, there is so much role playing and imaginative play in our house. It almost seems like it arrived overnight -- "Let's pretend!" While it is all pretend, it seems there is a fine line between pretend and real. I've seen Nia nearly crying because she was searching for an imaginary lost kitten!
Let's pretend you're the grandmother, and I'm the granddaughter.
Let's pretend you don't want me to smile.
Let's pretend you don't know who I am.
Let's pretend you're my ballet teacher.
Let's pretend you're the farmer and I'm the farmer's daughter.
This weekend I was reading about child development and came across this: "Imagination is key to the development of the literacy process. It is an extension of and support for the emerging sense of the reading experience, helping children to understand aspects of stories." (Pam Allyn, LitLife)
I am very committed to the idea of "raising a reader," I just hadn't considered that all the pretend play that has recently blossomed in our house was a building block towards literacy!
I'm delighted to see all this imaginative play -- and can't help but see a parrallel to it in a move Joe and I took a month ago: We decided to cut way down on Nia's video-watching. While she was typically watching PBS shows, I became uncomfortable with how addicted she was becoming (and me, too -- OK, you watch something & I'll ______ 1) Take a shower, 2) Clean the kitchen, 3) Get some work done, 4) Make dinner, etc.) Also, the PBS was slowing turning into Nick Jr. thanks to Netflix. It was a slippery slope, for sure, and suddenly it was rare not to watch something each day. "Can I watch something?" and "What can I do?" became phrases I heard freqently.
The week of Christmas Nia went 5 days without watching anything because of the distraction of having visitors in the house. During that week it slowly dawned on me how nice it was not to have the TV as part of our lives at all. So we decided to extend it. Once the visitors left, she asked if she could watch something and we said no, watching will be for special occasions. It was hard on her for a week or so -- and me, too (see the list of previously accomplished tasks!). But then, after a week or so, she stopped asking to watch and started to play even more than before (no longer did she ask what she could do, either). It was wonderful to watch her revert back to relying on her own imagination and interests!
Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm not taking a "TV is evil" stance here. I love movies a lot and there are some TV shows I look forward to with pleasure, plus Joe loves the sports, so we won't be trashing our TV anytime soon. Moderation is the keyword here. Nia will still watch movies now and then, as a planned activity. I want to bring consciousness to this "watching" situation. Slowly, almost without us even realizing it, TV had become the babysitter.
All of this is simply to say that since going cold turkey with the children's programming, wonderful play has been happening in our house -- and whereever we go! And to think it is all a building block for literacy. That's pretty cool!