The deceptive simplicity of a cardboard box and a light

Dear BFS Families,

It seems that winter has finally arrived, bringing with it all the wonder and excitement of the changing season and impending holiday break. We just had our Holiday Breakfast and Sing, which filled the morning air with the sounds of laughter and joyful emotion. We are all prompted to stick our tongues out to catch the fleeting snow flake or sneak the third or fourth cookie from a heaping plate. This is the season to indulge a little.

What I am musing about is what do I really want to indulge in?  Is it a material craving or one more amorphous and experiential? 

Over the past few weeks, our paper exploration has morphed into a box and light study. Initially, Gabi placed the boxes in the atelier and simply recorded the experience. How were the children interacting with the material; or, in a Reggio inspired setting, how were the children learning the language of boxes? The simplicity of a cardboard box evoked a sense of open ended play, their imagination bringing the children a myriad of places.

After having played for a few days in and around the boxes, the children began to ask if they could alter the boxes. Our answer was, "Of course. How would you like to do this?"  At first the children marked the boxes with pen, drawing images and abstractions. The next phase came from two desires, to create a multi story structure and to enter the boxes in new ways. Gabi placed sturdier boxes together and cut openings along the sides.  The children learned to balance their weight, examine how cutting into the box changed its resilience and how the size and shape of the opening altered the light coming into and out of the box. 

As the children entered these new spaces, light became a commodity and a means of both banishing the darkness and challenging themselves to see how little light they could tolerate before feeling the space was too dark or "scary.".  The children experimented with the battery charged flashlights, rope lights and tea lights, shining them against the boxes, their bodies and the walls.

What does all this mean about what we value in our indulgences. Well, things are always nice to have, if you have the resources to have them; but, simple pleasures, like making a world in box, noticing the fall of light on a cheek or seeing the glow of light through some fingers feel precious.  The sound of children's laughter or the appreciation that one person shares with another, these things are priceless to me and to your children.  

Thank you for the many gifts you have shared with us for the past few months. The time we have spent with you and your children are the most wonderful of all and the ones that nourish and sustain. So, indulge a little, or a lot, in the small things that bring joy. It is so worth it! 

We are wishing you all joy and peace in the New Year and looking forward to all the many experiences yet to come.