Maria Wysocki with Nicole Land
It has been quite a
journey to observe and live with the children the relational ways that ‘masteries’
and ‘ownership’ come to happen with the yard, as we study its dynamic of movement
and life collectively. We move and we notice, and vice-versa, in this
environment that offers endless experiential moments in which we enlarge our
understanding of who we are, how we move, and what disrupts our movements,
shaping our experiences and understandings on intrinsic human – nature
relations and dependencies.
Continue reading How Noticing Becomes an Act of Reflection and Care
Nicole Land thinking with Maria Wysocki, Selena Ha, Andrea Thomas, and Alicja Frankowski
I’ve been thinking about what we can notice and what we cannot notice when we think with moving: in the yard, whose movements are acceptable or enjoyable or agreeable and whose movements are not? I am thinking about how our inherited ways of knowing movement call us to pay attention to certain movements. I’d suggest that we are taught to pay attention primarily to human movements and then also to particular sanctioned kinds of human movements (developmental skills, gross motor skills). I am thinking too about all of the movements in the yard that are part of living well together in the yard, but that we don’t often notice or sometimes we work not to notice. Like how we don’t often attune to rat movements or only get to know rat movements in certain ways (like dead rat bodies), but also other movements: tree movements, bark moving, snail moving. It’s harder to notice these movements. Thinking about our intentions to want to create conditions where we have to actually think about moving, I’d suggest that paying attention to these kinds of movements requires more work; we have to change how our own bodies move and shift how and what we notice. I think that this connects to thinking about getting to know moving in a particular place: how does a place (the yard) shape how moving happens? How do the conditions of the yard shape how we can notice moving? And the flip side of that question – how do the ways we notice moving shape how we create conditions for moving in the yard?
Continue reading What We Can and Cannot Notice
Nicole Land thinking with Angélique Sanders, Kassandra Rodriguez Almonte, and Angela Chow,
I’ve been thinking about our beginning conversation about developmentalism and deeply entrenched discourses in the field – children as bounded individuals, promoting independence at all costs, thinking learning as a linear, discrete, step-based process. As a response, we are wondering how noticing while walking slow might be a strategy toward disrupting this; how noticing causes us to pay attention differently, to be differently implicated in a place.
Continue reading What is it to Notice Together?
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.
Continue reading “Clock” Time and Moving Slowly
By Andrea Thomas with Nicole Land
The warm season this year has flown by, but I remember very distinctly all the climbing and jumping off of surfaces that first captured our attention when we thought about movement this spring. The climbing and jumping always creates some internal conflicts for me: is it safe for children to be climbing up on rocks, stumps, and trees? Is climbing safe for the plants and other living things in the environment?
The playground was made for gross motor movements of the children, right? Are they the only ones who matter? For years, some beautiful tiger lilies used to grow in the space at the top of the rock wall by the toddler fence. But over the past couple of seasons, these plants have been so trampled each spring by children who climb up the rock wall and jump, that although the green shoots still spring up, the plants are stunted and the flowers no longer bloom. As an adult in the environment, how do I decide what it more important? Where do I set the border/boundary? When we make borders, what lives are we paying attention to and what lives are we not valuing? This yard is a place where things live and die: tiger lilies get trampled, animals make homes that are removed, leaves get picked, and ants get stepped on. Because we have a “natural playground” – and because squirrels, rats, raccoons, trees, moss, wasps, and snails live here – we can ask certain questions. Even more, because we are part of this place, we have to ask certain questions. We have an ethical responsibility to think about how our human moving is entangled with the possibilities that other lives have for moving in the yard. How does our moving activate our ethical and political choices to pay attention to certain lives and not others? Is it more important to let the children test their skills and explore, climb and jump wherever they want? Or do I teach a responsibility to care with these plants and flowers? In noticing how our moving is entangled with the yard, the familiar idea that the yard is a space just (or primarily) for children’s skill development becomes unsettled. What happens when we pay attention together with children to how movement connects us within a place? How can we notice how human movements impact plants and flowers – and, how plants and flowers shape human moving. How can we figure out how to move together?
Continue reading Plastic Toys, Playground Spaces, and Moving with the Yard
By Selena Ha and Nicole Land
“How do we move together?” and “How do we get to know a place with movement?”. These have been the big questions in part of the movement research in the preschool room.
From the start of the research project inquiry work, we noticed children’s conversations and play, such as “No you can’t play here, it’s my house” and “It’s mine”. We wondered: What did children tell us with this play? What ideas and concepts were they thinking with? We noticed children were creating structures and using them as boundaries that stopped the flow of human moving in the playground; structures and boundaries that interrupted the children’s movements. Thus children that used structures, words, and even their own bodies to create boundaries – they were border making, a term we used to describe our acts of creating and participating in boundaries. Noticing how important borders were in shaping moving, we started to question: what do borders really do?
Continue reading Bordermaking and Ownership