by Sarah Lu
Laura wrote yesterday about a special request that JR made to have his work presented on our blog. A couple of weeks ago I had asked him what he wanted to do at circle time, knowing that he had felt a little confined and bored during this time of day. He responded that he would like to have us draw a map at our circle. During this particular couple of weeks he and EZ had been drawing maps almost every morning, and he wanted to share this with the group. As Laura stated yesterday, the process was a good reminder of how much power we can share with these young people. Sometimes they need limits and boundaries, and sometimes they are trying to tell us that they are ready for more power and control over their own learning.
WG has been having an awfully hard time with our clean up transition recently. Our morning clean up is met with a huge meltdown by this youngest member of our group, and we have all witnessed his big feelings around having to be done working when in fact, he is not done working! Yesterday we pulled out some tools that we haven’t used in a while. We talked to WG in the morning, before other kids were here, to remind him of what happens every day. We walked through our schedule and reminded him that after snack time, we clean up. We told him that we could take a picture of his work before we cleaned up, and we reminded him that he could build it again some other day. Lastly we told him that it was an option for him NOT to freak out when he heard the clean up signal.
When it was time for clean up yesterday, we gave a five minute warning, took a picture, and WG was able to allow others to clean up, without tears or screams, without trying to hit me or others, and without me holding him so that he could remain safe around others. This morning, following the same protocol, he cheerfully exclaimed “Oh! It’s clean up time!”, picked up a block, and went on to help for the whole of clean up time.
Because of this great accomplishment and learning I asked him this morning what he would like to do at circle time. He responded by saying that he would like to make a fire truck, which is something that he does most mornings for an extended period of time. So when our greeting song was over, each child went to get a block of their own, or a block to share, and we made a group fire truck in the middle of the rug. We all sang our fire truck song that we have learned this year, and there were smiles all around. It was a great moment that brought lots of joy to all of us.
WG was ready to share his work with the larger group, to feel important, to feel accepted. He was ready to move on and was perhaps looking for a way to get out of the cycle that he found himself in.
If children are engaged in their own learning, then they take joy in it. If they are asked what they think, if their feelings are deemed important, if their hearts are nurtured and if they have a supportive and inclusive environment to work within, they can and will learn so much. If we as parents and caregivers and teachers can co-create and support one another and trust in each other, then we can move mountains and learn together. There is no one who is done learning. And there is no one who does not need love and guidance. This is one of the things that I love so deeply about the Reggio philosophy: The idea that we are all learning together, constantly and consistently- as children, parents, teachers, administrators, and people.