Commentary by Teacher Tom
I grew up trying to keep Barbie safe from my brothers G. I. Joe toys. They would kidnap her, cut her hair and give her tattoos. Neither of my brothers grew up to victimize women or become hair stylists or tattoo artists. It was imaginary play. We didn't watch tv, but we read lots of books and some of those stories were violent and scary. Our brains figured out what was imaginary and what was real. Why is today different?
Is it the reality and violence that is constantly on tv and radios without context or explanation? Is it the zero tolerance policies, not allowing for this kind of play, in environments where learning and teaching appropriate vs inappropriate play can actually happen?
The comments about adult anxieties being foisted upon our children was really interesting to me.
I am not sure if I think there is a no gun play policy in our learning environments, or do I just think there is because of my own fears and views? I will do some research and ask questions.
I was shopping for spring toys for my classroom and I though bubble guns would be so much fun, but I opted for wands. I also decided against buying squirt guns and opted for spray bottles.
I am a toddler teacher so I am unsure of the level of gun play that is appropriate for this age group, as it has never really been perceived as ~allowed~ where I have worked for fifteen years.
I have noticed that we can remove the blocks shaped like guns, we can remove Legos built like guns no we can remove actual gun toys, but children as young as two, still find a way to engage in imaginary gun play, using tubes, dishes, books, etc.
These chapters have conjured more questions than answers for me.
I think in the future, I will allow the gun play, with the toys remaining available to them, and watch and offer comments and really use it as a teachable moment.