March 21, 2012

Kirby is doing so well! One morning last week during center time (that's when children make choices about where they want to play - dramatic play, blocks, computer, writing center, science area, etc.) Kirby and James were playing with the train set. We have a beautiful Brio set that was donated to us and Kirby plays with it just about every day. What was remarkable was that the boys spent about 45 minutes working together to build a figure-eight shaped track, then moving the trains and people around and back and forth.

Why remarkable? A few months ago, Kirby would have struggled to cooperate with a classmate and he wouldn't have had the patience to work through a challenge like creating a complicated track design. His verbal skills and command of English would have been barriers too. Today it's a different story. Kirby and James traded ideas about which track piece to use where. "We need a longer one!" said Kirby. "That one!" said James, trading out a piece for a longer straight track from the box. Back and forth, trial and error, using curved, straight, tunnels and bridges, the boys stayed with it until they had their vision completed and could drive their trains continuously. Kirby's English has improved so much that he can work with James, who doesn't speak Spanish.

Center time for Kirby is play time, as far as he knows. But in that 45 minute span, he was developing his math skills (by working out the geometry of the track), his vocabulary (that Brio set has a lot of pieces with different names!), English language skills, and - so important for him - social skills.