2's/3's Play Group Spotlight

The article below was written by the 2's/3's Play Group instructor, Coriel Gaffney. She is a certified Yoga teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry). She is currently pursuing her MSEd in Early Childhood Education at CUNY. Coriel lives in Bed-Stuy with her husband and 19-month-old daughter. 


Two months into our 2s/3s play group, we've established a nice rhythm. Nowadays the kids come in excitedly telling ME what's on the agenda (the morning song, the roll call game, choice time, snacktime, open play and closing circle). 

At the sound of my singing bowl, we gather to greet each other in song, stretch our bodies and figure who's "here" and who's "home." Then we read a book to further develop our understanding of the four seasons and the natural world. Finally, we peek into the "secret box" to see what treasures are inside: could be seashells or leaves, gourds or blueberries, maybe maracas or a tinfoil moon...

From there, we move on to choice time. On any given day, we might shape homemade playdough, explore a sensory bin of dried beans and cinnamon sticks or fingerpaint bubble wrap in autumnal orange.

The second half of the morning, we enjoy snack, open play and closing circle. Sometimes I throw a dance party in the mix. After all, dance is therapeutic and these little ones can really get down.

At this point, the play group participants know each others' names and preferences-- who is cheered up by the Twinkle, Twinkle song; who always hides so well behind the red curtain; who loves to dress up as a firefighter and put out flames. And they have learned too that their caregivers always come back for them; that they are safe among their friends and teachers. 

It's been beautiful to witness the children's social/emotional development. They are more expressive, independent, confident and empathic humans in just eight weeks. Thanks to their tremendous curiosity, they are also learning a ton, for example about other cultures. Our play group is a microcosm of our global neighborhood: collectively we speak seven languages. 

I feel so fortunate to run this program at Tot Town, where my own young daughter and I have enjoyed many sweet hours together. And I am looking forward to our next series, during which we will explore the theme of "community."