An invitation is simply and extension of our children’s play. Its a way to either build upon existing knowledge and delve deeper into the interests and curiosities of our children, or a way to inspire engaged exploration – to inspire an outpouring of ideas, questions, and emotions. An invitation can be anything. It can as simple as a bowl of strawberries sitting on a table or as complex as something like THIS:
We usually set up invitations when our children are sleeping (or even when they are engaged in independent play). Most of our days are spent outside playing and exploring nature, but when our children show a deep interest in something (or if its a rainy day), we use those times to extend their play (through invitations). There are also times where our children take an active role in setting up an invitation (I guess it wouldn’t really be considered an “invitation” in that case, would it? At any rate, there is value to the child playing an active role. There can be a lot of great opportunities to learn during the setting up process.).
Invitations can be accepted, denied, played with and then cleaned up, or left out for days to revisit. Its all about free play so we never force our children to engage in anything we set up for them. Is it worth the mess? The time? The energy? In our opinion – absolutely. Everything we do for our children is “worth it” – even the invitations that flop. We may find a sense of disappointment in the flops, but when an invitation is a hit, that makes up for all of the flops.
Invitations can be
|The Beginning and End of Color|
HAVE A GOAL
(though exploration is not limited to that goal)
|Invitation to Cook|
Some invitations require more guidance than others. The important thing to remember is to offer guidance and join in without taking over.
(These are just a few of our invitations. Want to see more? Let me know.)
- AK (MESE, MECD)