Leaving Behind the Given: Searching for a room that isn't there anymore
CeeCee's parents came to school with a question she had been asking at home; Where is the Meadow room? Her (now first grade) brother was in the Meadow room when he was in preschool. But where did it go? CeeCee wanted to know because she is in the Rainbow room, and the Meadow room would be next. But if it's not there anymore, would there be a classroom for her? This is a really knotty problem. Where does something go when it's gone? The four walls that held the Meadow room still exist. Yet somehow the Meadow room isn't there. The problem encompasses time, because brothers and sisters used to be in the Meadow room, and children will be going somewhere next. The Meadow room is a permanent thing in our ideas about preschool, yet it has slipped out of the physical space. That is how we started looking for the Meadow room.
Back here in the classroom, I've been wondering if consciousness is jumping over it's own shadow when children form hypotheses that cause them to go between logical and magical thinking. This happens often when a small group encounters a phenomenon that puzzles them and that they can't explain based on what they currently know. For instance, children noticing a rainbow projected on a wall in their classroom might look near the window and point to something that might be reflecting or refracting light. But at the same time they may talk about the rainbow visiting as if it is a friend. Like the oldest fairy tales illuminate real human struggles, I think magical thinking fills in gaps when children's observation fails to explain.