purposeful play at the playhouse – setting the tone
For those of you who’ve joined us for an *Open Play* session, you know our routine. If you have not, picture this: free, unstructured play until noon. Then at noon, the music goes off and everyone cleans up their share. It’s a joint effort but we make a lot of fun! Then, we line up at the sinks to wash, wash, wash our hands (are you singing the song in your head?!). Following hand washing, we take our seats at our eating place and socialize with our friends. Once the food is in front of us, we use our utensils, good table manners and napkins to wipe our faces. Good social skills and etiquette are contagious at our Playhouse. We do it because we CAN. We do it because it’s appropriate. We do it because when we start school, we want others to know they can expect that of us too. When we’re eating, we keep our hands to ourselves, only share when appropriate and ask “more please” with our words, raising our hands or signing *more.* When we are done and excused, we take our trash to the garbage (adults are here to guide, not do things for us) clean off our spot at the table, pick up any food off the floor, wash our hands and finally, resume playing. It’s just what we do because at the Playhouse and it’s what is expected. It’s what we CAN DO.
This past weekend, our family attended a formal wedding and Upsy and Downsy were only two of only a few children invited. When it came time to sit down and eat dinner, my boys were socially appropriate and with good table etiquette. People commented on how impressed they were with their skills and behavior. I share this not to brag, but to acknowledge these are skills that Downsy practiced at the Playhouse. He knew it was expected of him, he knew it was what others were doing and now he knows no different. For any two year old to use his utensils, ask for “more please” (granted, it was wedding cake) and to witness him place his cloth napkin across his lap… was quite a sight. And a proud moment at that. People were staring at him because they were impressed with his skills (also cuz he’s cute as heck in a vest and tie!), not because of anything else.
Photo note: linen napkin across his little legs. Be still my heart!!