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Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

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  • 1.  Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-29-2019 01:29 PM
    So I know that young children have a hard time taking turns with toys on the play ground and in the classroom. I noticed that when I was a student teacher there was a tire swing on the playground, and the children that would be on the playground would not get off so their friends could have a turn on the swing. In the classroom the children would become upset if they couldn't have a turn playing with certain toys. I noticed that the teachers tried to set a timer to let the children know when it would be their turn to play on the tire swing or with toys in the classroom. Even when I told the children that I was teaching, that they had like five more minutes to play on the tire swing or with a certain toy, the children didn't seem to care what I was saying. The children didn't seem to notice how sad the other children waiting to have their turn were. I think it is important to have a discussion with the children in the classroom the importance about taking turns. How can I address the issue of taking turns with toys when I start working in the field at a preschool?  I don't want the children to become upset when I tell them that they have a certain amount of time to play with toys, before the next group of children can have their turn to play. I saw this issue a lot when I was doing my observations for my education classes while I was in college, and I wasn't quite sure how to address or go about the issue

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 2.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 12:37 AM
    It is hard for little ones to share!  If you think about it, we don't set very good examples.  We tell them "no, you may not have my keys" or "give me back my phone" or "don't play with my wallet!" or "put that knife down right now".  In their minds we are not sharing our things.  They don't understand the reasons why.

    How you respond depends on their ages.  If they are mature 3s or 4s you can explain why they need to share and assure them that they will have another turn, if not today, tomorrow.  Or explain why someone may not want to share something that is really special to them like we all have special items.  "You wouldn't want to share your lovey, would you?" might start to teach the empathy needed to understand sharing.  If they are 1 or 2 years old you'll want to practice using the words "my turn", "your turn" and "share", giving ample chances for everyone to have a chance and letting the child know that you noticed his/her efforts.  Sharing, taking turns and kindness can be kind of abstract ideas for such young children.  Keep in mind that ego centrism is age appropriate for this group because they are learning to take care of themselves which includes self advocating.  Distraction or redirection works well with those under the age of 1 (and many above that age as well).

    Every day has it's challenges but if you try to make a habit of remembering at least one good thing that happened for each child at the end of every day you'll enjoy your job for a long, long time!

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    Chris Schmidt
    Special Instructor
    MO First Steps
    St Louis, MO
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  • 3.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 12:56 PM
    Thanks Chris

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 4.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 12:42 AM
    Sorry! I forgot to mention that preschoolers don't really have a sense of time.  A visual or auditory timer is more helpful than telling them when things will change.  For example you could sing a familiar song like Twinkle.  Everyone in the room knows how that song goes and when it will be ending, indicating a transition.  Hourglass timers are another option.  Personally I have a timer on my phone that goes from green to yellow to red and then explodes into a celebratory song to transition.  I find that my students watch the timer and have forgotten what they are playing with by the time it's gone off...

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    Chris Schmidt
    Special Instructor
    MO First Steps
    St Louis, MO
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  • 5.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 06:43 AM
    Turn taking is HARD!  There will always be struggles.  There will always be those that cater to others, giving things up much too quickly, and those that find it almost impossible to take turns. Both need some guidance to build up the balance between taking care of themselves and being considerate of others.

    I work with a mixed age class of 3-6 year-old children, and what we have found to be the most successful is to get them involved in the process and give them as much decision making and control over the situation as possible.  Nobody likes to constantly be told what to do, and sometimes it feels like childhood is all about being told what to do.  It can also feel stressful having to watch that timer and truly enjoy using something knowing that your time is limited.  Initially we teach that everyone has the right to use the materials in the classroom and on the playground and sometimes we have to wait until someone else is done, which we empathize, "It can be hard to wait! Let's find something else to use/do while waiting."  If they want a turn, we model how to ask, "May I have a turn with the bike when you are done?"  and the answer is always, "yes, when I am done" or "Josef is next. You can ask him."  If Josef is next, they go to Josef and ask for a turn with the bike when he is done.  This often, but not always, is very effective in helping them wait their turn, sometimes for a while!  They have some control, and they know the order.  They are typically good about respecting each other once they have some power over the situation and knowing that the expectation is that we take turns, and we can have the time we need.  Time restrictions are not typically needed.

    IF
    timing is an issue, and Sarah has been on the bike for quite a while and we know there are several children waiting, we will say, "You have been on the bike for a while and Josef is waiting for his turn.  How much longer do you need, two minutes or three minutes?"  Of course they almost always choose the higher number, but once again, they are in control and have the power, so often will even give up the item before their three minutes is over.  If they use it for the full three minutes, they will typically hand it over willingly at the end of their time.

    Very occasionally there is a child who refuses to give up the item.  This is a difficult situation, and we have found very few children that will adamantly refuse to take turns - typically those very strong willed who need a lot of power and control.  We do not engage in a power struggle and try not to assert our control over these children as it makes the situation worse and has long term negative effects.  Ideally it is best to give the child some needed power over the situation.  We explain, "Josef has been waiting a very long time for his turn, and Carol is waiting to go after him.  We only have ten minutes left before we go inside.  The expectation is that we take turns.  How are we going to make sure that Josef and Carol get their turns?"  If the child cannot come up with a solution, you can offer some ideas, "Would you like some ideas?" Remember - this child needs power and control, so try to respect that. "I have two ideas.  You could get off the bike now and they can each have five minutes on the bike, or you could ride the bike for ten more minutes and not have a turn tomorrow.  Which idea do you like better?"  If the child refuses to engage, or says, "Neither!" you can say, "Would you like to choose one of these options, or do you want me to decide? By staying on the bike that shows me that you are choosing to not have a turn tomorrow."  If this is what happens, we say to the waiting children, "Sarah is having a really hard time being done with the bike, so she will not take a turn tomorrow. I am sorry.  You may have a turn tomorrow, but let's go find another bike you can use today."  This typically only happens once or twice before it is no longer an issue.

    Good luck!  I hope you find some effective strategies.  We have found that once we build this culture of respect, we have relatively few issues with turn taking.

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    Lyn Schmucker
    Director/Lead Teacher
    Sunnybrook Montessori
    Lancaster NH
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  • 6.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-31-2019 02:01 PM

    Following up on Lyn's suggestions I borrowed one last step from my daughter's daycare: After helping the child who wants a turn to speak directly to the current user, letting them know they would like to play with the item when they are done, I would help the waiting child engage in a different activity, and make it clear to all the children that hovering around isn't how we do things. (There are generally two outcomes here, either user 1 is anxious and can't enjoy their play, or user 1 enjoys the act of withholding from their classmate. Occasionally there is a third outcome: they decide to play together, which is cool, but I prefer to ask them at the outset if they would like to try that.)

    As we have all probably observed, often the waiting child gets completely engaged in different play and no longer cares about their turn. Just as often, user 1 will lose interest and drop the item without warning. However, I make it a point, as much as humanly possible, to keep track of the situation, to watch for when user 1 becomes disinterested, and help them remember to bring the item over as promised to the child who had asked.

    This is about training, and it pays off in the long run. We are teaching children to communicate: to ask, to listen, and to follow through for each other. It is fine if the waiting child no longer cares to use the item, I congratulate them both on the follow through and see that they both feel good that they have kept their word to each other. Over time, this becomes set behavior and I don't have to orchestrate as much. This is one important way we can help to build happy, trusting relationships among peers. This is a lifetime social-emotional skill, and is worth the great effort it takes.



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    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 7.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 03:20 PM
    That is a great idea. Thank you so much I will keep that in mind also

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 8.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 03:19 PM
    Thank you for the advice I will keep this in mind when I find a job in the field

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 9.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 08:43 AM
    A waiting list where the children write their name or a cookie sheet, magnetic white board, etc where they can place their magnet name tag will help them understand when it is their turn. It is especially useful if they have to wait until tomorrow. They have tangible evidence that they will not be forgotten

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    Connie Prairie
    consultant/owner
    Prairie Education Solutions LLC
    Cincinnati OH
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  • 10.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 10:15 AM
    I'd like to add to this conversation that waiting has to do with emotional regulation. Emotion is the energy of behavior. Emotional regulation can be taught by the age of three if caregivers reinforce paying attention to things including consequences in a way that calms a child--synchronicity--as compared to pushing the attention on them. As was clear in the marshmallow experiments (waiting for ten minutes to gain a second marshmallow) not having emotional regulation gained in early childhood is devastating for adult lives.

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    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 03:23 PM
    Connie, that is a great idea. When I did my student teaching during my last year of college the teacher wrote the children's names on a dry erase board that were playing with play dough and then after like a certain amount of minutes passed she would tell the children playing that they needed to leave so that other children could have a turn. Thank you so much for the advice

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 12.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 06:55 AM
    As mentioned earlier, modeling is a wonderful way to help children understand concepts. When your interacting with them in play take opportunities to emphasize, "Would you like a turn with ..." and bring attention to the positive when they are taking turns appropriately, "Thank you for giving your friend a turn with that. He was waiting for patiently and it was kind of you to let him have his turn."  Also praise those who are waiting and recognize that waiting is difficult. Puppets can also be helpful to use in illustrating this point. Put on a puppet show in small or large group settings where one puppet is waiting and the other provides her with a turn. For children who continue to have a difficult time taking turns, you can engage them in a 1:1 with the puppets, asking them to take on each role so they can both practice empathy for the person on the receiving end and practice using the desired language/behaviors in the situation. Best of Luck in your journey.

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    Rebecca McKellar
    Director of Training and Educational Supports
    Creative World School
    Bonita Spgs FL
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  • 13.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 03:26 PM
    Thank you Rebecca, I still have a lot to learn before I actually start finding a job and working in the field. I am young only 26 years old and naeyc discussions boards have given me a lot of this to think about and take into account when I am in the field. Thank you again so much

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 14.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 08:02 AM
    Cheryl, this issue of sharing is where it becomes important to understand child development. There is evidence that children don't understand the concept of sharing adequately to explain it until they are five. That leaves us with teacher-relationship to establish sharing in the classroom.

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    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
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  • 15.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 03:27 PM
    Jack, you are so right. I also believe that parents should model taking turns at home if they have other young children

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 16.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 04:26 PM
    Cheryl, could we say that parents would do best modeling all positive behaviors for their children?

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    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom
    Best Answer

    Posted 08-30-2019 10:40 AM
    I agree with pretty much everything that has been said by others in this thread.  I think it is important to involve children in the process, allowing them to choose how long the timer should be set for.  I also find that children almost always are done before the timer goes off when they choose a large number (say, 10 minutes), as others have said that young children's concept of time is not all there.  (I also usually give a limit to how long turns can be - a number smaller than 10.). I think the use of timers is essential.  If you are timing in your head and tell them it's the next friend's turn, you become the bad guy.  If you use a timer that will be audible when it is done, the timer becomes to the bad guy.   I also agree that a list can be helpful.  I sometimes find that waiting children decide they don't want their turn when it comes up because they are engaged in something else, freeing up more time for those on the list who really wanted to engage with the object/toy.

    I would discourage you from having the consequence that a child cannot engage with the desired object/toy the next day if they chose to have a long turn.  Children live in the present moment and won't understand the next day that they can't have a tricycle (or whatever the item is).  (Plus, I'm not sure ethically if withholding the object/toy is the right thing to do.). I would suggest ensuring that turns are long enough to be enjoyed but short enough that those who want a turn will actually get one that day.  Sometimes that means the child who has to give up the object/toy after 10 minutes will be upset.  This is part of the learning too.  I would physically remove the child so that the waiting child can have their turn and validate feelings.  "You really wanted to have a longer turn on the trike.  You feel mad/sad that the timer went off and it is not your turn anymore.  Everyone takes turns with the trikes at our school.  Let's put your name on the list for another turn.  What do you want to do while you are waiting?"

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    Sherrie Rose Mayle
    Director/Teacher
    Campbell Parents' Participation Preschool
    Campbell, CA
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  • 18.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 11:45 AM
      |   view attached
    I totally agree with the recommendations shared.  I have to share something we have in the 3 -5 year old classrooms and some two year old rooms introduce it!  As each child has a "job" each day...one of the jobs that requires two children is the Problem Solver!  I have attached  the chart that is used ​in the classroom as their guide.  The teachers review the chart with the class.  I have to tell you that sometimes I hear one of the children remark "Oh no! Not Problem Solver!" when they find out that is their job for the day.  LOL

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    Bonnie Hendershot
    Director
    JHBMC Child Dev. Center
    Dundalk MD
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  • 19.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 03:36 PM
    Thank you for including the slide on how children deal with being a problem solver. i think every classroom should have a chart like that and also have discussions about sharing toys with other children

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 20.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-03-2019 09:42 AM
    ​Sorry for the sloppy background...it is changeover time as you well know but I wanted you to see the options.  :)

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    Bonnie Hendershot
    Director
    JHBMC Child Dev. Center
    Dundalk MD
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  • 21.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-03-2019 11:25 AM

    Developmental science, especially information about the brain-neurobiology-is finding more and more things that 'blame the mother.' That can also feel like blame of childcare workers. It's important to remember that early childhood educators are doing much better than the just babysitting that was common in the recent past. Early childhood caregivers are my sheroes, and sometimes heroes.

    Neurobiology is also making it clear that no one is to blame. Like children who make mistakes because they haven't learned better, adults' behavior is a product of what they have learned, not learned well enough, or not learned at all. Like children, our responsibility as adults is just to learn to do better.



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    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 03:34 PM
    Sherrie, thank you so much for your input on my conversation. I never tried to give the young children I was teaching a consequence for not sharing toys or the tire swing on the playground. I watched to see how my host teachers and the other teachers around me handled the situation. I like how in your post you talked about what you do at your preschool with the children. I will try to do this with the children that i will be working with when I find a job. thank you so much

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 23.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 08:10 PM
    Sherrie, I completely agree that developmentally young children don't understand the idea of not having a turn the next day.  That was not ideal advice that I gave for 3-5 year olds!  I typically have 6 year olds toward the end of the school year, as we go through kindergarten, and the particular student I was thinking of who refused to take turns was approaching 6.  I realize that time is an abstract concept, and even at 6 the idea of not having a turn the following day is not ideal.

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    Lyn Schmucker
    Director/Lead Teacher
    Sunnybrook Montessori
    Lancaster NH
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 08-30-2019 01:40 PM
    I suggest turning this situation into a teachable moment for the children and engage with them in exploring a solution to the problem you described. I think this is a great way to support the children's thinking and in learning about what they think is the cause of this problem and become engaged in brainstorming solutions and then using critical thinking skills, come up with the best solution. Then they can implement their solution and come back together again to report if it did or didn't work. If it didn't work, it is an opportunity to repeat the process to create a solution. I found children are more likely going to follow rules they were engaged in creating.

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    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Better Futures LLC
    Senior Consultant
    Washington, DC
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  • 25.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-01-2019 04:31 PM

    I've made two posts about the science of early child development. Both could have affected the discussion, but neither did. I may have tried too hard not to be confrontational. The situation of caregivers not paying attention to child development information is concerning to me.

    Next month I'll be presenting a piece of this issue at the Mountain West Early Childhood conference in Billings, Montana. I'll be suggesting that we use the phrase "Current Developmentally Appropriate Practice," in place of our current concept of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP). One of my three illustrations is concerning what we learned about synchronicity from a research article.

    In this article mothers with five-month old infants were just observed teaching their child to pay attention to a bright object. The behaviors of about half of the mothers was called "synchronous." They didn't push attention to the object, only gave more attention to their infant who already had their attention when the object was attended to. The other mothers pushed their child to attend to the object. Their behavior was called "intrusive."

    The huge outcome came when these infants were tested when they were three years old. The children raised by synchronous mothers had learned to regulate emotional and impulsivity. The other children had not. If I had added this information to the discussion of problems regarding children learning to share, it may have had more influence than just warning that sharing is not normally well understood by children until they're at least five years old.



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    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 01:44 PM
    I love this! Do you have a link to the study?
     I often see parents "teaching" their little ones how to interact with an object, toy, birthday gift, playground equipment and circumventing the natural process of exploration, therefore limiting their child's potential by encasing it in their own experience. I wonder how many ways this affects a person's life? Within safe parameters of course:-)
    gina

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    Gina Bennett
    Freelance Writer
    Early Learning Advocate
    Baker City, Oregon
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  • 27.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 04:36 PM
    Gina, I'll post the article reference below. If you don't have a library or college with access to Developmental Psychology you would have to pay for access. When we don't understand these issues, we severally impact not only the lives of the children, but of the adult whom they become. Delayed gratification is a frightening example. The experiments offering a second marshmallow to young children who could wait ten minutes is a prime example. Some of the children have been followed into adulthood. Some 80% of the children who couldn't wait became adults with education problems, relationship problems, financial problems, and even depression and suicide at a significantly higher rate than the adults who as children were able to wait for their second marshmallow. Jack

    "Maternal Behavior Predicts Infant Neurophysiological and Behavioral Attention Processes in the First year," Margaret Swingler, Nicole Perry, Susan Calkins, Martha Bell, Developmental Psychology, 2017, Vol. 53, No. 1, 13-27.



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    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 07:49 AM
    I am in agreement with all 3 of Jack Elmo Wright's post in this thread.
    We put too much emphasis on what is fair, and what is right in our classroom experiences without really looking at what is developmentally appropriate. If we are building healthy relationships with children we will be teaching them the building blocks for higher level skills, such as empathy, that is necessary for sharing and understanding another's perspective.

    To expect preschool children, whom are still very egocentric, to share is to ask them to try and navigate a successful relationship with no trial and error. Something many adults still are learning to accomplish.

    I find modeling behavior, building relationships with my students and between my students, and providing language more important than the desired object.

    Often after our sense of fair as been imposed on the children and the source of conflict. (The item they are in conflict over.) They are actually just asking to be heard. They want the other child to recognize they have the object or want the object. They want the teacher to hear them, remember they are still self-focused. They don't need us to fix it or impose our system of justice just respond, acknowledge and be there. That is relationship and that is truly DAP for preschool to dare I say 7 years of age.
    That does not mean we cannot introduce the concept of fair and work on its meaning, we just have to understand it is not the important part of early childhood relationships and experiences.

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    Helen Meissner
    Lead Teacher
    Love To Grow On
    Saint Paul MN
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  • 29.  RE: Taking turns on the play ground and In the classroom

    Posted 09-02-2019 02:24 PM
    So I take a different approach to sharing. I consider it a problem solving and self regulation opportunity as well as a social learning. In the beginning of the year, I want each child to have a chance to play with the materials, so I impose more limits and use waiting lists to accomplish this goal. After that, I don't usually limit the time a child can play with materials. Observing children's play over time gives me a chance to discover a child's relationship to the materials. If another child wants the object, I work with them individually to find ways to get what they need. If the class has many conflicts over materials, then we may have a meeting to find strategies that we can agree on. This democratic process is sometimes slow, but meaningful. With swings or other gross motor activities, I consider the children's vestibular system and know that some children need to swing for a long time in order to self-regulate. Helping children see other children's perspectives is critical to developing empathy and deeper relationships. I believe that we learn this lifelong gift through the struggle. (I also try to have an abundance of materials for the children to use.)

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    Brian Silveira
    Pacific Primary
    San Francisco CA
    ------------------------------