Playing Fighting

making plans to build a Trojan horse
starting the horse
(a note to the teachers to ask if they can have room to play with the Trojan horse they made) 

Dear Nancy and Robyn,

"We want to fight and get back Helen."

"That means the whole classroom has to be Sparta."

-Xander and Duke, 5

Decorated pithos found at Mykonos, Greece depicting one of the earliest known renditions of theTrojan Horse
(from wikipedia)
It is a regular thing in the four and five year old groups, that fighting games, weapon games, good guy and bad guy games, happen. We have learned over the years that playing about power and weakness and good and bad is part of the work of children at this age, so the teachers at Sabot approach this play in a way that gives it space to happen but also protects the children who feel worried or scared by it. So, when you want to play star wars or ninja or fighting, you have to find a teacher who is willing to watch the game and a space to play it in.
When the games start to be played all of the time, over and over, and don't seem to be growing or changing any more, we might try to find a way to channel it into a story and a way to link it to some making. That's why we got out D'Aulaire's Greek Myths and rtold the story about the Trojan Horse with the Meadow room children. I love to tell stories from this book. They never fail to captivate children and enrich their play, and not in the scripted, static way that some stories do.

The Trojan horse, ready to play with

The Spartan soldiers emerge from the Trojan horse! 


  1. This post came back into my world yesterday and it really resonates with me right now - there is a lot of energy around fighting/superheros/"blasting". It is a natural exploration, and I want to help steer the energy. I hadn't thought about using greek mythology, but I think we'll explore some of those stories this week. Thanks Anna :)


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