"Kids do not play with adults, kids play with kids"



One day during an afternoon outdoor play, five year old Jonathan was quietly sitting on a bench, watching the children play "hide and seek" with me.  I went to him and asked, "Do you want to join us, Jonathan?"  He looked at me seriously and said, "Kids do not play with adults, kids play with kids!"
"Well, Jonathan, we are having so much fun playing, I am sure you will have much fun too, if you join us."
"No!"  Jonathan said angrily.  I smiled at him and left.

The next day during our outdoor play time, Jonathan approached me while I was making paper airplanes for some of our preschoolers.  "Teacher, please make me a paper airplane too."  "Sure," I answered with a smile.

Jonathan's paper airplane flew up high but got stuck on one branch of the tree.  He ran to me.  "Teacher, please get my paper airplane."  Stamping my feet and slowly walking towards the tree, I pretended to be a giant.  "Thump, thump, thump,...."  In a loud, deep voice, I chanted,  "I am a giant, I am a giant, I am a giant!  My big hands can get a stuck airplane on a branch of a tree!"  I got the paper airplane, made faces, pretending it was very heavy and gave it to Jonathan.  He laughed heartily and shouted happily, "You be the giant again teacher!  I will be the driver of the airplane."  "The driver of an airplane is called a pilot."  I explained.  "Yes, teacher, I am the pilot.  My airplane was flying high and suddenly went down, down a mountain and got broken.  Then the giant helped me.  He fixed my airplane."

The dramatic play with Jonathan was repeated about five times with some changes in the plot, as suggested by the child.  After a number of play episodes with Jonathan, I observed that he became more approachable and friendly with his peers in contrast to his quiet and aloof attitude in the past.  Gradually, he was listening and expressing his thoughts with his peers.  He showed self confidence in communicating with them.  My fun play episodes with Jonathan served as fun practice training and prepared him for social interactions with his peers.  (excerpt from "I Will Play With You"

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