We're not here right now, but if you would like to leaves us a message, wait for the tone...
Play messages are left wherever children play with the freedom of the picked up, moved, and placed stone, flower, and crate. There are notes filled with symbols that read, "Stay away! Danger!" or "Quick, come right in, there is no trap!"
Each afternoon, one of our Tracks class (ages 4 and 5) children builds a wall of crates to protect the inhabitants of the Teahouse. There is rarely anyone in the Teahouse, she herself is always too busy to take up residence first in the building of the wall and then in running off to live in another house. The wall goes up, that great opening finally sealed, and off she runs.
Every afternoon for the last two weeks, the wall goes up. Every morning the wall gets knocked down.
The little ones come in and there is something about that wall that says, "Time to open the store, the house, the restaurant, etc." These children see the message left and it doesn't say, "Leave this up. It will make you safe and cosy." They must take it down. And when they take it down, the crates rumble, tumble down. Several of the crates are picked up and carried off to be left as notes for others around the yard.
But then, the afternoon arrives and our builder-protector gathers up the crates and moves them back into place. She never misses a beat and the littles ones don't either. This conversation keeps going, without words, but speaking volumes. It's like a chain letter!
More on play messages? See Evidence of Play.