In the Silver classroom, we posed the following question to the 4-year-old students, “What do you know about community?” Some thoughts about community were that “we go together,” “the Cats and Rabbits are in the community,” “teachers too.”
After defining community, we discussed turn-taking during conversations and meetings. We noticed that when too many voices are talking at the same time then it’s hard to hear each child’s message. To make this more concrete, we incorporated phones and phone books in our classroom. Through phone conversations, we could practice turn taking in conversation through play.
We thought about what we use to make phone calls and how to make a phone call. The Cats and Rabbits thought of answers like, “we push the buttons and ring, ring, ring” and “you pick up the phone and say hello.” The teachers introduced the idea of creating a phone book that consisted of our community and we would add it to our dramatic play area. During work centers, each child glued their photo to white paper and then chose the numbers for their phone number. Through this activity, the children were exposed to number recognition and counting. They were also exposed to the print concept of reading from left to right because of the order we dial phone numbers.
After finishing their page in the phone book they practiced picking up the phone receiver, dialing the phone number, and then having a conversation. The Cats and Rabbits were very excited to have phones and phone books part of dramatic play. The children called each other to invite friends to play dates, parties, baby showers and trips to the park. There were also children pretending to call a babysitter to take care of their babies. One of the most exciting parts of this play was that the teachers were also included in the phone book. The Cats and Rabbits enjoyed calling the teachers to invite them to play.
- Early Learning Center