My little nephew, who is two and a half, came to visit me in the office the other day and was delighted to climb up on the swivel chair. He arranged the keyboard, mouse, notebook and his mum’s phone (that she placed on the desk) closer to himself. Then lots of activity started. There was ‘writing’ in the notebook, clicking the mouse while looking at the black computer screen, typing on the keys and touching and swiping the phone.
It made me think about the meaning of ‘role-model’ and how parents and teachers have so much un-noticed power in children’s lives. It is easy to forget how children desire to become like the adults around them. Children play at being adults all the time, whether it is copying Mum or Dad, playing families with friends and siblings, cooking mud pies or imitating adults in silly voices. My sister, told me that at home she often uses her laptop and phone at the same time, just like he was doing in his play.
Daniel and I once set up an office in our upper primary classroom with a reception desk phone, notebook, pen tub and neck ties. The students loved to dress up, put on a special voice and welcome their peers into the classroom office. This play then later helped them realise the importance of their school work.
On the same day that my nephew visited, Daniel’s nieces also came into the office. At the age of seven and three, they setup shop at the unused reception desk. They invited their family and us to come to their shop and purchase pens, post-it notes, business cards and tissues for outrageous prices.
Playing at being adults is incredibly fun for children but it also is an essential part of learning how to perform tasks, relate to people and behave as a person. We absolutely enjoy facilitating cubby building where playing families and communities becomes part of children’s learning experiences.