Pre-K Teachers Courtney and Kate find creative ways to enrich their students’ learning with themes that “emerge” out of play. Recently they presented their class with a table covered in paper, a mess of paint, and some brushes. From there, a group of children came over to paint during free play and turned the table into a beautiful ocean scene, telling a story of mermaids and underwater creatures. With the point of interest established, Courtney and Kate stretched the idea a little further by bringing in ocean animal figurines and, as always, materials from the classroom art atelier. The kids were thrilled to develop and extend their stories adding coral, shells, and many decorations. The teachers pulled ocean and fish books from the shelves to answer questions and extend their learning. Each day as the kids returned to their ocean scene, remembering the details from prior play periods and adding on more aspects of the story and environment.