I visited a foundation stage classroom last month, camera in hand. The room was humming with activity. I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible so my photos would capture the children focused on their play. Two boys were playing shop under a fabric canopy, and I looked around for something to sit on that would bring me down to their level. Near the door was a very green, very plastic three-legged stool. I lowered myself carefully (it held) and focused the camera. After I got up, one of the boys came over with a conspiratorial twinkle in his eye and said with obvious delight: “You sat on the naughty stool!” The vigilant teacher came over and explained that it was actually a “thinking stool” where we can “reflect on our inappropriate actions”.
But the best was to come. It appears I had joined a select group by sitting on that stool. My new little friend went to the art area, cut out a picture of batman, pasted it on an envelope and presented it to me.
The classroom was full of our wooden equipment, so I was glad that the teacher had chosen a bright green plastic product for the “naughty stool”. If she had used our new child-sized rocking chair, the children would be fighting for turns on it.