I recently checked The Creative Family out of the library. The author, Amanda Blake Soule, is the writer and photographer behind Soule Mama, a wildly popular blog about life and family in Maine.
I enjoyed reading it, and I think that early childhood educators, especially ones who are interested in taking a more holistic approach to education, can find useful inspiration here. A few ideas that resonated with me:
"The things we have around us and the things we see in our daily lives all greatly affect the way in which we create." (p. 29)
When we look around our centers and classrooms and schools and day cares, what do we see? What do the children see? What is valued by adults and children? Its not just about the commercial items versus the natural items: t goes deeper than that. What we present and suggest for children to use in their explorations will guide those explorations - we cannot forget that.
Soule also shares ideas on imaginative play, which you know have been at the front of my mind lately. I had a bit of a revelation when reading her suggestions for a wonderful "dress-up trunk". She lists a few key items: scarves, hats, shoes, accessories, and makeup. Although we might not have the makeup on a regular basis, I pictured the other items she lists presented carefully in the classroom, and I can see how children can use those.
The kicker is that when I was growing up, we had a dress up trunk with my mother's old dresses and shoes and bags and other second-hand things. No fancy costumes, just interesting clothes. That is how it should be. I feel as if I'm on a bit of a quest for the perfect prompts for imaginative play, and I'm glad to have a few reminders from this book.