By Katie Helms
The summer season is represented in the Chinese Five Elements tradition by the color red, the element of fire and the sound of laughter. When I develop lessons for the summertime they are full of sorting, partnership, connecting, and awareness.
As we design games in small groups, we build connections with each other and find ways to partner with our buddies. We take turns being the leader of the play we engage in. In our play, we develop empathy and joyful awareness of each other. One kind of energy we see in summer mimics the dancing quickness of flames.
Another way that summer shows in our daily lives is in the slower more subtle and intimate or protected interactions akin to the embers of a fire. When we sit together with a trusted adult and explore simple materials, we use our sense of touch to learn about the world. We can connect deeply with children by witnessing their play with sensitive hearts.
Dramatic play games that began indoors in the fall, blossom into a new fullness when we take them outside. This is a good time of year for dancing activities and Original Play. One job of the teacher in a summertime classroom is to help children build bridges between themselves and their peers.
The best way that I know to help folks understand the spirit of summer is to remind them to connect to the spirit of play within themselves. Children are excellent stewards of the fire element, when we open to the energetic of fire, we open ourselves to joy and passion, to intimacy and lightness of being.
Katie Helms is an artist and a teacher living near Baltimore, MD. She offers adult and child workshops several times a year and is available to travel should you be interested in a group class outside of the Baltimore area. Her blog can be found at www.radlabs.wordpress.com and she can be reached at this email address.