Like many daycares, we like to throw a farewell party. But unlike many (unlike most?) daycares, we let the kids have almost complete responsibility for the decor! This does not mean that we show them how to make fancy matching decorations, it doesn’t mean we tell them what to do and how to do it, and it definitely doesn’t mean we do it while they “help.” It means we give them streamers and tape, or whatever else they need, and let them do what they think is best.
Letting go and handing the reigns over to the children isn’t always easy and it definitely isn’t always understood or accepted by other adults; I remember arguing with a former director of mine when she saw me do just this, let the children decorate, because “it wasn’t very nice.”
But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be nice to us. It isn’t about us adults. It is about the children. It is their party. Their celebration.
They didn’t leave any surface left untouched. They spruced up even the door handles!
It was interesting to watch them decide which surfaces to decorate and which not. They experimented with decorating the seating areas and the floor. It didn’t take long for them to realize that someone might trip on floor streamers and ruin them, or they would get pulled off when someone sat on them.
This took a lot of teamwork and a lot of time! The process of holding up the streamers, cutting the tape, and lining the strips up parallel to each other was no easy feat for their little fingers.
In fact, at one point, 4 children were working on it together. You should have heard them – planning, negotiating, compromising, problem solving, etc…
It was such a delight watching this child attempt to hang this cluster of streamers on the wall. She reached and stretched and stood on her tippy-toes, until another child recommended she get something to stand on. She also experimented with the streamers in a different form: crumpled into a ball.
You may have noticed the long pieces of tape in most of these photos… We, as adults, could easily judge this as wasteful or aesthetically unpleasant, but to the kids, the tape is part of the decor!
I love this process because the children get really excited for the upcoming party. They are proud of their work and want to share with family and friends. They exclaim stuff like “this is going to be the best party ever!” And they are right, it is.[:]