As we began Thursday’s Zoom group, Natalie invites A to join her by the computer screen. We hear A shout from the other room,”But I’m a duckling!” Natalie pans the camera to the front room. We see A inside a cardboard block structure. “I’m a duckling!” he shares again. “Oh, we see you in the blocks, duckling!” I offer. Natalie explains that the blocks are the shell and the baby duck has not yet hatched.
When preschool is in session, it can be difficult for a child to shift gears from their engrossing play to move to an adult-directed group time. With “preschool in place,” we’re faced with the added challenge of making a screen interaction rewarding enough to stop what one’s doing to come join.
I lean into my classroom experience. I partner with A’s mom to learn more about the play then honor it by calling A by his imagined role–duckling. Instead of rushing ahead and expecting A to put aside what he’s been delighting in, Natalie moves her laptop next to the egg. As we sing a song about critters splashing in the water, I start with duck. “Hey, A, we’re about to sing about you!” A waddles to his mama’s side and joins in the song.