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walking in line

  • 1.  walking in line

    Posted 03-06-2018 08:34 AM
    There is a discussion amongst our staff regarding having students "walk in line".  Specifically regarding the younger students our teachers disagree.  Some of our young preschool teachers (2 yr olds and 3yr olds) teach their students to motor around the school in a line.  Another teacher feels that this is not developmentally appropriate and prefers for her class to move from place to place in a free group. I have noticed that the teacher who moves her class freely has more incidents and those students have hands all over items at the edge of the hallway (strollers, other students bags etc.).  I am interested in feedback and opinions regarding this issue.

    Laurie Miracle
    Laurel Heights Weekday School
    San Antonio TX

  • 2.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-07-2018 04:53 AM
    Coming from an EC and SpEd teacher of 10+ years, and a mom of 3 under 3 who are all walking...

    I am sure the "free" walking teacher means well, but my number one concern would be safety. I would ask that teacher to reflect on the behaviors you have noticed as well as this: would  a parent out with multiple children age 3 or under do what she is doing? No. Would that really be safe or asking for a disaster? I respect my 2yo'sneed for freedom, exploration, and independence but place limits by giving clear choices. Ex: "hold onto mommy's hand, the stroller, or the stroller hook".

    Sounds to me like the "line up" teacher is using  developmentally appropriate supports to help make their transition both successful and educational.

    I would offer your teacher these choices or suggestions:
    -have children line up with a line up rope (picture below); this can also be educational because of te shapes/colors

    -children line up with a walking buddy in pairs
    -provide a pretend transition activity for children to focus on walking in a fun way, walk like a penguin, butterfly, horse, ninja (super quiet), etc., place hands like binoculars and look for something real or imaginary, etc. This can be Connected to
    whay children are currently learning (ex. If you read the very hungry caterpillar, walk like caterpillars and butterflies). Once a few pretend transitions are established, children can even have a choice or the pretend transition itself can offer choice like pretending to play a (quiet) instrument 🎷 🎸 🥁 🎹

    Perhaps giving the teacher some choice that also gives children some choice and keeps things fun and engaging for children will get her on board with more safe and efficient walking/lining up.

    Time wasted in transition is one of the biggest causes of behavioral incidents and the lack of organization and boundaries can cause children some serious stress. Asking 2yos to walk in a perfect, quiet line is not DAP, but I think the above strategies make lining up appropriate, fun, and SAFE.

    Annika Mehta
    Miami FL

  • 3.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-07-2018 06:27 AM
    I find that students walking in line  is more organized and ensures that teachers can easily and safely account for all the students. Students cannot easily slip away as they can if students are spread out walking their own way. Especially if teacher is at the front and shares the hallway or walkways with others.  No one gets lost if there is a child leader and a back of the line caboose leader because those students will speak out if children are not staying in line. I believe it is safer.

    Celeste Glascoe-Njoku
    Brooklyn NY

  • 4.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-07-2018 07:37 AM
    I am a preschool teacher and I am a firm believer in lines. This simple strategy keeps children safe when entering and exiting the classroom, building, waiting for the bathroom, and taking turns. Teacheing students to line up at a young ages helps with classroom management, while teaching life lessons such as patience and taking turns. Lastly, lines are a great tool to use to help teacher's keep count of how many children are present and accounted for throughout the day.

    Michele Duncan
    Preschool Teacher
    Padonia Park Child Centers
    Cockeyesville, MD

  • 5.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-07-2018 01:57 PM
    I agree that walking in a line keeps children safe and keeps down the urge to stray, but younger children don't quite get the concept of what walking in a line really is. I like the idea of walking with a friend and even using the rope to get from place. Now as the year goes on, you may want to eventually give up the rope and allow them to walk hand in hand, almost like a human train, just so they can get the feel of what walking in a line is like.

    Delicia Parker
    Houston TX

  • 6.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-08-2018 08:39 AM
    I work with 2 1/2-year olds. When inside, we don't walk in a line. Instead we 'stay together as a group'. I also have what I call 'checkpoints' along the way-stand by a green wall when we get out of the classroom door, stop at the big blue puffy thing in the hallway, and so on. This seems to work more than me trying to keep them walking in a line, especially if I have to open/close doors along the way. When we are on a walk, we use a walking rope so they stay in line and safe-it's a way I can hold everyone's hand at the same time! I walk backwards a lot. When we are walking inside, we also talk about being quiet in case someone is on the phone. They like to walk like little mice. Now I rarely have to say what the checkpoints are-they know where to stop.

    Catherine Roach
    Milwaukee WI

  • 7.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-08-2018 08:52 PM
    Prisoners walk in a line, should the children be treated like prisoners? Children are sensory individuals they explore with their hands, eyes, and ears those items on the walls are tempting.
    Walking in a line may make the teacher feel like they are teaching a skill, but wouldn't it be better to teach them to respect the property of others instead?
    That skill will get them farther than walking in a line. We don't walk in a line as adults so what is the intention of making children do it?

    Lisa Vorpahl
    Chandler AZ

  • 8.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-09-2018 12:30 AM
    Children walking in a line. Particularly young children. I just couldn't enforce that. It always seemed to me that in life -- except for schools, prisons, and going thru airport security -- we don't walk in lines.
    As I walked through our school with my youngsters, I constantly commented in this manner: "Oh, look, there's Mrs. R's class. Is there enough room for them to walk by?" "Let's stop ..... or move .... or something ... so they can get by."
    It seemed to me that the point is to teach awareness of others and consideration for their needs, too. The older I get, the more I feel that is the approach to take. You see, now that I am on the verge of old, it is apparent to me, when I walk in stores and other crowded areas, that others seldom notice me. I am constantly moving out of the way in order to not be mowed down.

    And I know that I am the oddball in this .....

    Mary Wonderlick
    co facilitator
    At Risk & Special Needs Interest Forum
    Chicago IL

  • 9.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-12-2018 10:39 AM
    I have really given this topic some consideration. My first response was to just say definitively there is no reason to walk in a line and that young children are not ready for that. After some talk with a coworker she opened my eyes to a new perspective but ultimately we still agreed a straight line is not developmentally appropriate. I started thinking, at our center we have a 2 person policy and we do not go down hall ways, everything is done in the classroom--maybe this is more unique than I thought. We also have high school and college students doing lab and practicum hours so there is usually more than ample supervision. So I have come up with a couple of different scenarios.

    1.  In a group of 2 year olds when we take walks around campus we try to be sure there are no more than 3 children per adult and when near the street we focus on walking on the side of the road which puts us in a naturally built line. Once we are safely away from the road the line spreads out for the children to observe and explore with their teacher buddy.

    2. With our preschool age children, the class size determines how the children walk more so than anything else. In a small group with a teacher in front and a teacher in back the children are free to explore as long as they are remembering to do it safely. The line still seems to form naturally when near a road. The children have buddies when walking and they are responsible for keeping each other safe. With a larger group their needs to be a bit more structure but still the line is not kept straight and orderly--it barely resembles a line.

    I feel that our center is unique with the number of adults we usually have and I am so thankful that we are able to provide the extra supervision, attention, and nurturing for our children.

    Laura Richardson
    Jefferson College CDC
    Hillsboro MO

  • 10.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-14-2018 12:57 PM
    Whether or not a group should walk in a line is dependent upon several factors. The age and number of children, how many adults are supervising, how far the destination and what hazardous (or enticing) abstacles/spectacles along the way, etc, are all variables to consider. Children will need that skill as adults- I have walked in many lines as an adult- I cannot skip ahead and pass others, I have to stay in my place and be patient and respectful. Then, there are other places and times when I am able to run back and forth and around. It all depends...

    Krisanna McCord
    Adjunct Instructor
    Irvine Valley College
    San Clemente CA

  • 11.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-10-2018 11:25 PM
    As a teacher of 22 kindergarten students, I would never feel comfortable allowing my children to walk in a random formation when moving from class to class.  Walking in line is the easiest way for me to take a quick head count to make sure that they are all accounted for.  I do feel that it is unrealistic for children to walk silently in a line as there are many interesting things to see along the way and children are curious and talkative creatures.  I prefer to allow my students to walk with a partner so they can quietly talk along the way.  Plus it makes my line a lot shorter and easier to manage.  Unfortunately, my current school is quite large and has narrow hallways, so we are expected to always walk in a single file line.  I guess it is up to what the teacher feels comfortable with managing along with school rules.

    Crystal Cullimore
    Kindergarten Teacher


  • 12.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-10-2018 11:28 PM
    If the children are expected to walk in line, have you tried to make it fun by playing simple games such as Eye Spy or counting steps?  This works wonders to help minimize behaviours, especially when they have a long distance to cover.

    Crystal Cullimore
    Kindergarten Teacher


  • 13.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-12-2018 04:35 PM
    VERY many years ago, I spent 2 1/2 wonderful years teaching kindergarten.  There were 27 children in the AM and 27 in the PM, and for the first year, it was just me, no aide, etc.  The next year, they added an aide.  Well, we did a lot of walking, to and from other areas of the school, the playground, neighborhood walks, etc.  The rule was everyone had to hold someone's hand and feet had to be on the sidewalk when appropriate.  The first time anyone tried to step into the road, we all went back and practiced.  When going through hallways, they were quiet.  When outside, they weren't always.  Every Friday afternoon, there were movies in another nearby building.  I never made the kids sit in lines or told them where to sit.  They knew if they wanted to hear the movie, they had to be quiet enough to hear what was going on.  There were 11 other classes (all the Ks in the district were in 1 school), and mine had fewer rules and were mostly the best behaved.

    The last week of June, I told them they were going to have to do things differently in the big school.  Children there walked in lines, and we were going to practice.  By the 3rd day of the week, nobody could tell who had spent the whole year walking on those lines and who had just learned it 2 days before!  One of my classes called our walking a "glump".  I liked that term, and used it often. Lines are usually for the convenience of adults.  So many rules are not only developmentally inappropriate, but just annoy the children.

    Respecting the children and expecting appropriate behavior from them usually yields great results.

    Ellen 9Jaffe) Cogan
    Hilltop Early Childhood Services
    Hartsdale NY
    EHS/CC Implementation Planner
    NYS Master Cadre of Pyramid Trainers

  • 14.  RE: walking in line

    Posted 03-13-2018 10:32 AM
    I appreciate the discussion and feedback.

    Laurie Miracle
    San Antonio TX