Dolls, Love, and Lucy School

My beloved childhood dolls

It started last week.  Dolls.  It is growing in ways teachers hadn’t imagined.  We rotate our dramatic play area frequently, and it’s been a while since it was our traditional housekeeping area with a play kitchen and dolls.  Hey, we went to space and turned dramatic play into the inside of a spacecraft.  Then, we had an Indian market with beautiful gold items and peacock feathers.  Then, we had a robot building area.

Out of the blue, Lachlan asked about the dolls.  He wanted a doll.  As soon as we brought out our two dolls, everyone wanted to play with them.  We had to use a timer and give children turns.  Two dolls were not enough.  Even adding Gloria to the dolls didn’t solve the problem.  At lunchtime I told Lachlan about my dolls at home- my childhood Raggedy Ann and Andy, and my daughter’s Cabbage Patch dolls.

“Jennie, If you bring them in, I can take care of them.”  My goodness.  Of course I brought in my dolls!  I can’t remember the last time children were so engaged.

As I showed children my Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, James said, “Jennie, Gloria has the same socks.”  Yes, she does!  Harry said, “They have the same black eyes as Gloria.”  Yes!  Children always notice first.

Lucy and Maya were the first to reach out and embrace  the dolls.

Then, the classroom became a school for the dolls.  It started as Lucy School.  She pulled chairs over to the easel for the dolls to go to school.  She used the pointer.  Other children wanted to go to Lucy School, too.

Teachers stood back and watched what was happening.  Give children opportunities, and the world becomes their oyster.

Hannah wasn’t at Lucy School because she was loving the dolls.

Love.  Dolls.  Lucy School.  Isn’t it wonderful?


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in Expressing words and feelings, Family, Gloria, Inspiration, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Dolls, Love, and Lucy School

  1. joylennick says:

    Playing with dolls in a ‘full-hands-on’ way, must help children deal with siblings in so many ways. Once they make the comparisons between the dolls and their living contemporaries, what they learn is invaluable. Thank you! xxx

  2. Ritu says:

    I love how they just reach out and find fantastic opportunities for us to teach!

  3. Darlene says:

    How adorable. It´s amazing how dolls can bring out the maternal/paternal instinct in children. I loved Raggedy Ann and Andy, and my daughter had cabbage patch dolls too. Does anyone remember Holly Hobby?

  4. This reminds me of how much I loved my dolls when I was growing up. ❤️

  5. Yes, it is wonderful! I love the video with the sounds of children at play.

  6. Jim Borden says:

    it’s wonderful seeing the children so engaged. and it is amazing how obervant they are…

  7. This was just heartwarming.

  8. That would be my kind of special day at school if I were a child again! Lovely Jennie.

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  9. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, Yes! It is absolutely wonderful!

  10. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Please enjoy another example of excellent teaching from Jennie!

  11. How wonderful they’re loving and teaching the dolls all the wonderful lessons you’ve taught them about love and life. This makes me want to pull out my dolls give them a hug, and say hello. 😍

  12. quiall says:

    You can see how much children witness when they interact with their dolls.

  13. Adorable. I loved my own Raggedy Ann, even after my mother removed her hair to wash her and took forever to sew it back on.

  14. All very wonderful. Thanks, Jennie.

  15. beetleypete says:

    I love how they notice the details we might miss. A reminder of how sharp their observation is, and how it can diminish with age.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  16. I love it when kids nurture dolls. A lovely share, Jennie. The dolls in your classroom are well cared for. 😀

  17. So glad to see Gloria made two new friends and The Raggedys (as my bro & I called them) made a new friend (of Gloria!)
    My Raggedy Ann got so beat up-loved that she fell apart. I boxed her up back in the day and just this past year found her nicely packed, but she really needed to be ‘put to rest’. I did lay her to rest – but first, I had to perform heart surgery…her heart is ever with me now…
    Does Gloria have a stitched ‘I love you heart’ like the Raggedys?

  18. Ellen says:

    I absolutely LOVE this post! I have enjoyed a lifelong love of dolls and Madame Alexander Dolls have always been my favorite. My collection began at the age of five and still continues to grow. Beatrice (born Bertha) Alexander’s philosophy was one that you understand : “Dolls should contribute to a child’s understanding of people, other times and other places. Dolls should develop an appreciation of art and literature in a child.” Thank-you so very much for sharing this sweet story!

  19. petespringerauthor says:

    It’s lovely to see children using their imaginations. I would have sat back and enjoyed watching Lucy School.

    • Jennie says:

      You would have been in seventh heaven! It’s every teacher’s dream to watch children take the ball and run with it- in their own way. Thank you, Pete.

  20. This is adorable, Jennie!

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I made my biracial daughter a Raggedy Ann for her first birthday who had her skin tone and made them matching dresses. She loved that doll her whole childhood. I had to add new limbs, new chest and make new clothes from time to time. Fortuitously I had a bag with the scraps from the original doll to do repairs. I had no idea that that doll would be THE ONE among all the others she loved and abandoned over the years. Dolls are terribly important and I have no idea why they would ever disappear from a nursery school classroom.

  22. Looks like so wonderful, and now Jennie, they only need also you as a puppet. Whats about the MIT and a 3D scan with a printed out figure of you? :-)) xx Michael

  23. How darling-Oh dolls are wonderful for childrens’ play-so much learning, going on.

  24. Ruqia Ismat says:

    Dolls are like characters. Can become anyone in children’s minds.

  25. I loved dolls and my daughter loves dolls. Whole world’s have been created by us both… the creativity, joy, exploration, visualisation, excitement, possibility and fun with dolls is just fantastic. In case you haven’t guessed I still love dolls!! 😄

  26. kavithabinu says:

    That’s so cute. It reminds me some of my wonderful teachers of primary school 💓

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