Imaginary Play and Preschoolers
Have you ever looked at your toddler and wondered what it must be like to see the world through their eyes? I’m not talking about their eye-level of course, that’s old news with the invention of extra durable cameras, but the actual going-on inside their minds. I myself recall a moment in elementary school wherein I had fully convinced myself that I was flying on an imaginary carpet, going back even further I had a stuffed asparagus that engaged in all of my adventures. His name was Tony, and my mother tells me that when I was little, I told her that he had a French accent. You just can’t make this stuff up.
Then in high school I got my first, adult-like look into the child’s eye, working as an assistant pre-school teacher in my Regional Occupation Program. One child in particular, really struck my attention as I would find her roaming the playground, on hands and knees, growling at invisible—to me at least—objects. Her name was Iris, she was an adorable blonde-haired, blue-eyed preschooler, who also happened to be a dinosaur. Each day I watched young Iris spend her outside time, crawling on her hands and knees, growling to her fellow dinosaurs (all of which were entirely invisible to the grown person’s eye) as a form of communication. In the moment that I asked her what she was playing, she turned to me, eyes confused, and responded simply “I’m a dinosaur.”