Figuring out how to Move Together

Nicole Land thinking with Maria Wysocki, Selena Ha, Andrea Thomas, and Alicja Frankowski

Maria shared a reflection about interrupting the children pulling paper out from the fence to ask the children WHY we might want to do this. This moment makes me think so much about the question of being thoughtful and intentional in moving: why are we moving the way we are? Why are we making the movement choices (and border choices) we are making? What in this place pulls our bodies to move in particular ways and not in others?

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Response-Ability and Sticking with Paper Borders

Nicole Land thinking with Maria Wysocki, Selena Ha, Andrea Thomas, and Alicja Frankowski

Today we continued to think together with the children about making borders obvious in the yard by attaching a large sheet of white paper to the fence bordering the yard – fences that we rarely notice. I thought that it was quite challenging how we forced ourselves and the children to stick with the paper after an initial flurry of destruction and over the fence that took place when the children first meet the paper at the fence. There’s something to keeping the paper visible, having to work hard to think at what this material can do with the fence after our initial first reactions with it – and, in noticing how we and the children are and are not interested, do and do not notice, the paper when it is no longer novel or easily disposable. The paper, in a way, creates an interesting problem with the fence: both the fence and the paper become less-noticed, more easily ignored, while at the same time they pose a problem through their existence – we have to do something with the paper and the fence. They’re part of how we move and form relations in the place in this moment; they’re both still here, even if we ignore them. 

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Noticing Holes with Slowness

Nicole Land thinking with Angela Chow, Angélique Sanders, and Kassandra Rodriguez Almonte

We’ve been thinking together about how we might build together intentions for walking with the children. We are careful to want to think with intentions in ways that break intentions from “rules”, but to begin to build the idea that we can walk with intentions, we can walk care-fully. What happens if we emphasize that on our walks, right now we want to think with going slowly and seeing what we notice, and noticing what places are calling our bodies to stop and spend time with them? This is something we’d have to return to often in our questions and in the ways we move, I think, as we practice having intentions for walking together. I am curious about setting an intention for the walk and repeatedly using that intention (slowness, noticing, seeing, perspective – whatever we are thinking with) as almost an “anchor” for our walk together. 

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‘Doing’ Borders Together?

Nicole Land thinking with Maria Wysocki, Selena Ha, Andrea Thomas, and Alicja Frankowski

We’ve been thinking with the idea of bordermaking, and how our bordermaking practices create certain possibilities for being and moving together in the sand (and beyond): how do we do borders? Why do we make borders? What do our borders create or shut down? How do we practice borders? Why? With what materials, ideas, intentions? How do the borders we make shape how we move together?

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Moving and Care

Nicole Land thinking with Sanja Todorovic and Jajiba Chowdhury

Sanja proposed that we might think of moving as a way of working with an idea together, as we’ve been thinking with moving that happens with the side-by-side slides in the yard. I think this is really interesting and something to think with. Moving as grappling with an idea or concept or tension together; not as medium to resolve that tension or fully understand or learn a concept, but instead paying attention to how our movements become a way of thinking collectively about the complex relations we encounter in everyday moments. Moving as something complicated, not just physical or outcome-oriented. I am thinking, for example, of the ‘ideas’ that were present last week with the slide: care, negotiation, obstacles/interferences, proximity/closeness, energy/wildness, together and common/shared movements, and creating. These are complicated ideas, and often things that developmental theory might tell us are too complex for toddlers to think with, but through moving we do grapple together with these big, complex ideas. I think there are probably multiple other ideas we could pay attention to with the slide too. 

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Noticing Borders Otherwise

Nicole Land thinking with Maria Wysocki, Selena Ha, Andrea Thomas, and Alicja Frankowski

While we were sitting on the logs around the sand last week, Andrea asked: what borders do we need to care well together? I think this question is important, because in living well together with the sand, I don’t think that anyone is suggesting relations of anarchy or disorder where we refuse all borders, or a romanticized anti-border world where we suggest that we are post-border or that we have created a space so harmonious there is no need for borders. I think, instead, Andrea’s question reminds me that we need borders; borders are part of world making – borders are a way of navigating, of standing for something, of making choices about care and attention and learning and life. I’ve been thinking about this question alongside a proposition from one of my favourite authors, Alexis Shotwell: “what it means to notice the world as a practice of responsibility” (p. 79). What would it mean to notice borders as a practice of responsibility, where borders are a way of being implicated in worlds and relationships? 

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The High Stakes of Thinking with Borders

Nicole Land thinking with Maria Wysocki, Selena Ha, Andrea Thomas, and Alicja Frankowski

I have been thinking about questions of what borders do. Recently in the sandbox we thought with large sheets of white paper, and about how these sheets of paper might help us to notice how we do and make borders (and why) in the sandbox. As we sat “inside” the paper border that the children created with large sheets of paper in the sandbox, a few of the children began to name what the borders created – the sand area was a farm, it was a track; things, I think, that remind me of strict borders and being penned in. Farms have fences that control how animals move, race tracks have a particular path that you are expected to follow to be successful. I want to wonder what relations with borders this logic comes from: are borders something that control? That certainly seems like an inheritance we have in ECE, the idea that we need to use fences and boundaries to regulate moving. The language that we were using for being “in” and “outside” of the paper border is also fascinating.

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“Clock” Time and Moving Slowly

Nicole Land thinking with Angela Chow, Angélique Sanders, and Kassandra Rodriguez Almonte

Angela has been thinking about slowing down within moving and asking “what is happening here” on our walks, which is making me think of the work that slowing down does. Kassandra has been thinking about perspective, which I think ties to slowing down because I think that we can think of speed as a perspective: adult slow walking opens up different ways of noticing at a different tempo than children’s slow walking. Adult running, where we are confident in our balance and run from point A to point B, orients us to differently than children’s running, where tumbling and zigzagging and yelling cause us to notice differently. 

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Who Participates in Moving?

Nicole Land thinking with Sanja Todorovic and Jajiba Chowdhury

I was thinking of our earlier conversations about running and about being curious how different ways of moving happen in your classroom, and what these different ways of moving do. I think that there is something quite interesting happening in noticing how and why different materials are carried, and how they travel, around the space. On Friday, there were lots of materials that were scooped up and carried around in lots of different ways: a hat that was carried around on heads and in hands, the coloured see-through block pieces that children carried in threes as they stretched their hands to hold three at a time, some children cuddling baby dolls against their bodies as they walked them around and others holding the dolls by their ankles or arms as they walked, the paint from the activity that got stuck to fingers before it was washed off, and books that were carried by their covers or carefully held flat as they travelled from the book carpet to other spaces. There is so much moving with materials that is unfolding, and I am interested in wondering and paying attention to what these moving relations create – what happens when dolls or paint or blocks or books move in particular ways? What does this moving open up? How do we shape how children move with these materials – why, how?

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