Takahia, stomp! E peke, Jump!
5 4 3 2 1 Houston we have no problem
Learning to launch a rocket required a lot of focus, practice and determination for nga tamariki as they used their bodies, knowledge and social skills to support each other.
Using a toy rocket that requires a jump or stomp to force air through a tube which pushes the rocket many metres into the air required the acquisition and practice of many skills in the playground. Using ideas about their own bodies and the amount of force required or even body parts (2 feet versus 1) was great learning as some children were observed to have challenges around jumping and landing 2 footed on a small air bag. Other children were heard to encourage their peers and quickly took up the use of “E peke” jump to pass on the idea that more force would be better from 2 feet rather than a stomp from 1.
There was good perseverance in gaining the right technique and also in being able to conform to the social expectation that lining up was the rule for this impromptu experience. While the more able 4 year old’s became competitive in how high they could get the rocket, some younger ones looked for support in joining play,. Using older children and teachers to encourage and invite others into the exercise worked well and gave confidence to those trying something new in the gross motor area.
Something so simple met the different needs of so many in the space of about 30 minutes, just by being alongside a group fluctuating from 10 to 15 and allowing them to self regulate we all gained some valuable learning.