Are You a Reflective Teacher? 7
“I’m Incredible”: A Story by Deb Curtis
Jacob, a few weeks ago you came up to me and said, “I’m incredible!” I was delighted and re-
sponded that of course you are incredible. I realized that you were trying out your newly discov-
ered incredible imagination. Over the first months of preschool you have been pretending you
are someone different every day. It is amazing to watch you become a firefighter or a tiger. You
use the dress-up clothes and props to enhance these dramatic moments. Your friends love your
new ideas and follow you in this make-believe play.
Sometimes your big energy and loud voices make me nervous that someone might get hurt.
Last week you found the shovel and decided it was a sword and you were a knight. You ran
around the yard with swashbuckling grace, waving your sword. Your friends were excited as they
joined you in this drama. I told you to make sure you were just pretending, so you wouldn’t hurt
anyone. You assured me a few times: “This is real, but I won’t hurt anyone.”
My reflections on what your play means
I am thrilled to watch you realize the power of your imagination. You are incredible—a smart
thinker with a huge vocabulary—so it makes sense that you use these gifts in powerful
ways. It is also wonderful that you and your friends are able to share in this play together.
Playing together in this way is new for all of you. Through this kind of play you are learning
social skills and cooperation. Understanding the importance of this play for you eases my
concern over your big energy. I know that my first reaction to this kind of play is often about
safety. But I also know that this is the beginning of years of pretend play during which you
and your friends will make up many adventures. And this kind of dramatic play is an impor-
tant way for you to develop language skills and creative thinking that will support all your
My thoughts about opportunities your play provides
I’ll continue to provide more props to support your dramatic play. I’ll observe, document,
and create books about your play to read back to you and your friends. I’ll keep showing
your ideas to the other children so you can help them learn the power of their imaginations!
I will pause and notice my first reactions to your play to determine if my worries about safety
are founded. We will continue to negotiate together this active play that is so important to
you while making sure you keep yourself and others safe.
Questions for Jacob’s family
What pretend play does Jacob enjoy at home? What is your view of his active, loud play?
How do you support him in staying safe? I’m eager to hear your stories.