I previewed an age play preschool even on this site at the start of April. This was the first New Grange Manor pre-prep school term, it was held yesterday and everyone thought it was a roaring success. Especially me when I decided to be a dinosaur and walked around roaring pretending to eat people.
Miss Livingstone, who organised it with help from ABJane, had done an excellent job of arranging a lot of activities for us to get involved in. Judging by how well-behaved we all were we must have been very involved in them! We had different tables with things like building sentences, jigsaws, painting, drawing and making play-dough models.
My big brother Dani (aged 6) asked for permission to take some pictures of the models we made. He made a polar bear (Grrrrrrr!) and a red-ruffed lemur which was totally beezer! Dani was really good at play-dough for a six year old. The only thing I made that gets into the pictures below is a lemon (complete with dimples) with a caterpillar coming out of a hole in it and a stem with leaves attached. I was mega impressed with it and even more so when Dani suggested making the caterpillar’s legs by pressing on its sides with a comb – brill! Dani helped me make a purple blob monster with brilliant eye-stalks and antennas after my model of a foot fell apart.
I felt totally at ease crawling over the play mat with a map on it, loading up it’s restaurants we’d built with farm animals for people to eat, then making cars do slow motion jumps through the air to crash into them. After the event I realised I viewed Dani and Jane as little children, like me, enjoying playing with one another, and they were viewing me much the same way (although Dani is big so he thought Jane and I were silly for doing slow motion, mid air car crashes when we could be building things).
When we were playing with these things and others it wasn’t an act we were putting on, it was part of the ‘real us’ making play-dough models and building jigsaws. The environment was supportive and encouraging and I think we all found it easy to express the little side of our personalities without much inhibition. It was us being ourselves.
I was a happy, grinning three year old (with my finger in my mouth, of course) when I noticed Dani was getting a naughty picture with me in it:
Much like a bunch of children who had never met on their first day of pre-prep school we were all a bit shy at milk and biscuits time. Dani and ABJane were the only ones to get in trouble, for throwing orange peel at each other and got sent to the corner (Dani says Jane started it)! After snack-time someone had the idea of playing tag around the classroom and we were all running around and having a whale of a time! Fun hasn’t been so uncomplicated in AGES!
We got a bit quiet again for the next set of activities, although Dani and I did occasionally shout “poo!”, no one joined in… Generally everyone seemed most comfortable in their own ‘little zones’, and I suppose that is understandable given the limits on how most people can be little. When we start down for a story at the end of the day a few of us had the odd glance around and grin at another little; we’ll be better friends next time.
We hope there is a next time, everyone who was there seemed pretty keen to repeat the experience, and a few said they’d be recommending other people attend. If you want to attend the thing to do is email Miss Livingstone, the organiser, say you’ve read about the wonderful pre-school experience on this site and that you’d like to attend. You can also ask her to give you the details for the New Grange Manor pre-prep school mailing list so you can get to meet some of the kids who attended the first term.
If you are a little, and are allowed to go to Farnborough I cannot recommend this event highly enough. Go and be comfortable with yourself as you have never been before. And it’s MEGA FUN!!!!
EDIT: ABJane has taken to words about this event and her write up is much better than mine. Read her article here.