I heard the greatest thing at a staff meeting last night. We were discussing how some of the older kids are trying on some more sophisticated methods of controlling social situations. Gone are the days when they just pushed another child away or yelled at them to go away. Now it’s subtle, cerebral… much easier to miss. Now it’s more like…”ummmmm, only girls wearing tights can sit at this table for lunch…” *sigh*
One of the teachers at the meeting shared an ingenious little approach to this scenario. In a conversation she was having with some kids about finding a way to include another friend in an existing situation — she decided to get out three balls and start juggling two of them while describing a cozy little scenario of two friends playing nicely when another friend asks to join in their fun. Then she pops the third ball into the air to join the dancing circle of balls she is effortlessly keeping in the air ….”see, and now there are three friends all having fun together…” Gold!
As I reflected on it later, I got even more excited about the layers of communication she had achieved. She has everyone’s attention, the message was sweet and positive and there was no blaming or pressure. Then there was this strong visual element that emphasized harmony, cooperation and joy. What a delightful way to say the same old ‘you can’t say you can’t play’ message for the umpteenth time. Now, I realize not all of us possess gratuitous circus skills, but when you think about it, there are a million ways to illustrate how things are better, more fun, more interesting, etc. when you add some more ingredients. Bread and peanut butter is good, but bread with peanut butter and jelly is yuuuummmy!!
The possibilities are endless.