SUPER WHY (not?) How following one child's interest brought one whole group together
We value the power of play, intentionality and following a child’s interest in our social groups!
A common goal in these groups is to support a child to regulate his/her thoughts and ideas to increase shared attention. An example might be to incorporate a child’s action or interest, such as a favorite character, to support meaningful engagement. The Best Buds preschool group recently added another "bud" to the group... Super Why! As a favorite character from PBS Kids, Super Why’s attendance supported several group and individual goals.
A plastic Super Why figure became a powerful tool for the boys in several ways, including increased representational play. Giving a different voice/affect to represent Super Why while forming a play narrative supported turn taking, intentionality and using different emotions in play. This covers many of our developmental goals for these clients.
One of the group’s goals in play is to...
First, establish meaningful engagement. Then, expand play ideas into longer sequences.
For example, a two-step cause and effect game to sleep and wake up established a wonderful example of shared engagement. This familiar interaction then evolved into a longer play schema. The idea expanded into representing routines before and after sleeping such as brushing teeth, going to sleep, waking up, eating breakfast, getting dressed then going to school. Super Why was guided through all these actions creating an opportunity for a cooperative, constructive play interaction with peers! The boys had Super Why end this scenario at school learning about space.
Super Why came to life by joining our daily activities, including circle time. He took turns as the "Page Turner" during read aloud, greeted his friends (shaking hands, giving high fives) and performed the actions to our songs. He also joined a freeze dance party and snack time when hungry. It was so motivating for the kiddos to show Super Why how to walk to the gym or clean up. Their participation with Super Why supports their goals of transitioning between activities and participating in expected classroom routines.
Our sensory gym is often a favorite for our social groups. Activities such as obstacle courses or scavenger hunts are often incorporated to support navigating through space, executive function skills and gross motor support. During our Leaf Hunt in the gym, Super Why was given the job to find the targeted number of leaves (8) hidden in the gym then bring them to the bucket. Super Why seemed to be a motivating tool in order to sustain attention to the task while filtering out distractions in physical environment to complete a multi-step motor planning activity! With Super Why’s help, they found all eight leaves! Go team!
While it can be fun, novel and exciting to dress up in costume, it can also be confusing and too abstract for some children. Thanks to Super Why we saw that he could be a cat over his body/clothes and still be Super Why underneath. This demonstration then supported/invited kiddos to put on costumes in our pretend play area.