‘Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts, and souls meet.’~ V. Axline
Bella, aged two and a half years old, recently made a visit to our family home. She is my next-door neighbour’s daughter, and this was her first visit. After a few brief minutes she insisted that her mum should leave. Most children of this young age like to display a pretence of independence. Bella took my daughter Laura’s hand and innocently asked her where all the toys lived. Laura, after giving me a ‘how adorable is she’ look, subtly and reassuringly directed her upstairs. Laura gently placed her palms on each of Bella’s hips and reassuringly assisted her climb as they proudly counted each of the fourteen stairs. I let the two girls have time together to get acquainted in the surroundings of all things pink. After ten minutes or so, I quietly followed them upstairs and sneakily listened outside Laura’s bedroom. The conversation that emerged from the room lifted my heart. Softly spoken words, dramatic rollercoaster resemblance of ascending and descending vocals, improvised character intonations, and made up songs, made the most beautiful soundtrack to this female acquaintance. I quietly made a rhythmic pattern on the bedroom door asking for permission to come in. Permission granted with a bellowing ‘YOU CAN COME IN’, I opened the door and placed my bottom beside the two girls on the bedroom floor, surrounded with a vast array of cuddly toys.
Bella, without hesitation, proceeded to tell me of an incident that had just happened while I was not in the room. Warning me that it was a great big secret she went on, ‘A massive gorilla came in to the bedroom and scared us all…and we screamed, and we cried…’ At such a young age, Bella’s imagination was incredible. Her creative thinking and imaginative energy were vividly evident. She carefully observed my shocked reaction, albeit dramatized, and gave Laura persuading nods to get involved with this secret, exciting adventure, which she gladly did.