We Are the Children from Planet Earth: Listen and Hear!

by Diana L. Suskind with Judith A. Chafel

STEP II of Stonework Play: Construction

Where we stand can make us aware. In the foreground, Danielle, with her pink sparkling hair wrapped in a bun and wearing a clean pleated white mask that covers her face, comes out from her Home of Movement, made of stones. Her right leg is jiving as she stretches out her arms exclaiming, “MOVE ON BACK!” Although her words sound muffled under her mask, she remembers that social distancing requires 6 feet apart. Danielle and Isabelle have been the “best-est” of friends since they were born. They have been standing too close even with their masks on. Isabelle remembers just in time for she lives in her parents’ Home of Mindfulness, also made of stone. Accustomed to staying-in-place at home all day, Isabelle asks, “Where has our imagination gone? Where have our own thoughts and our own dreams run off to…?”

“Let’s help and do our part,” say the children as they chant, “Virus no more! Virus no more! Let’s keep us safe inside our homes and outside wearing our masks.”

Then magic starts to happen. Danielle looks down and realizes for the first time that she is made of stones. As she turns, she sees that her friends and the nearby neighboring tree are also made of stones, beautiful stones. “What is going on?”, she cries.

Suddenly, the tree begins to speak, “I want you to get closer to the earth and see its beauty.” Bimala, who is without a mask,

STEP III of Stonework Play: Rendering

wearing her favorite purple skirt and standing by the talking tree of stones, exits from her Home of Meaningful Engagement. “I want to talk to my friends,” bellows Bimala. Isabelle sees that Bimala is lacking a mask. So, Isabelle says, “Bimala, do you have a mask? “Bimala quickly replies, “Oh yes,” as she reaches into her pocket for a clean mask. Bimala thanks Isabelle, as she puts on the mask.

Danielle says, “When I was looking at our stone tree, I saw that my cat, Rielee, liked stretching herself before climbing the tree.”

From a block away, Soleil, another friend of the children, leaves her Home of Healing and approaches. During the night, when everyone was asleep, her parents helped her bring a big beautiful stone to where the children live. Soleil told her parents, “Let’s put a band-aid on its top to remind us we can heal after the virus leaves.”

Isabelle turns to Danielle and says, “Before the virus came, the neighborhood used to meet at the quiet Home of Heart. I miss not being together.” “So do I,” sighs Danielle. Isabelle replies,
“When the virus leaves, we can we all have a picnic together at the Home of Heart. “Our hopes and dreams will never leave our hearts as long as we believe in them.” Danielle nods in agreement.

Danielle, Isabelle, Bimala, and Soleil return to their respective stone homes with smiles on their faces.

Oh, adults, please listen and hear!

• Be aware of your movements and remember social distancing requires 6 feet apart.
• Stay in place.
• Be mindful and wear a mask.
• Let’s each of us do our part.
• Like the children in the story, focus on responsibility, imagination, kindness, and healing.
• One day, we will be together again and appreciate togetherness more than ever.

Be hopeful! Someday soon our frowns will become smiles.

Note. There are five steps to Stonework Play: I: Gathering, II: Constructing,
III: Rendering, IV: Narrating, and V: Sharing.

Diana Suskind, Ed. D., is an international consultant in early childhood education, an advocate for young children and families, and a Fulbright Scholar. As the founder and developer of Stonework Play, she has traveled extensively throughout the world, conducting workshops in United States, Nepal, Malaysia, Australia, and Israel, to name just a few of many countries. Stonework Play: A Guide to Inspire Creativity and Storytelling Through Nature, written by Diana Suskind with Leah Crandall, with Illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, explains the history, pedagogy and benefits of Stonework Play.

Judith A. Chafel, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita at Indiana University, Bloomington.