Today we ditched a cool thing we (the teachers) spent a lot of time on yesterday. We had some cool items set up in the sensory table that would be good for all the cognitive and fine motor practice. (We ended up making a makeshift sensory table later on with the same materials - see pic below)
We ALSO had a bunch of mannequin heads and stuff set up to play hair salon (my favorite time of the year!!!!). We added a bunch of empty shampoo and hair spray bottles to the area as well as some squirt bottles with water. RIGHT away, we noticed many kiddos trying to drench the mannequin's hair. They were heading to the sink to fill bottles and cups with water. We told them they could use the water in the spray bottles. BUT, after having to repeat ourselves a bajillion times, we recognized that the children's needs were definitely different than what we planned for. We ditched our beautifully set up sensory table and filled it with all the creepy mannequin heads, squirt bottles, water and pumps. Some children spent all morning there. It meant that I didn't get pampered as much in the hair salon - but I'm willing to sacrifice my own needs over those of the students (that was a joke).
This is what being child led means. Child led isn't a term that we can throw around without much thought. It seems to be a buzz word as of late. But what does this REALLY MEAN? It means that we meet the children's needs, when they have the needs! Not the following week because we already had this week planned. We had a plan based on what we know about the kids. Their plan was different. We modified, ditched our other well thought out plans and everyone was content. Learning at their own pace with their needs being met is magic!