Each year around this time children seem to engage in arguments that require facilitation. It becomes a power struggle that may evolve into arguing for the sake of arguing! On Tuesday while reading The Black Rabbit at meeting, one child said that Black Rabbit was white rabbit’s mother. This quickly turned into an argument about the relationship between white rabbit and black rabbit:
No, that his mother.
No, it isn’t.
I think that’s his dad.
That’s a monster.
I think it’s his dad.
I think it’s her sister.
It’s his brother!
That is a brother.
I think it’s black rabbit.
As children engage in an argument, it often escalates: they stop listening, yell louder, get closer, and it can become physical. We have begun using a checklist with a slot for each child, and we write down each child’s idea next to his/her name, giving them ownership of their ideas and feelings.
Why is it that writing down the children’s opinions proves more effective than simply repeating their words? Is it that there is now physical evidence of each child’s assertion? By slowing down have we made each child’s voice be heard by all? And why now? – why did this not happen at the beginning of the year? Though these are unanswerable questions, the strategy proves effective nevertheless, so we’ll continue with it, and perhaps the children will ask to fill out their own checklists in the future.
Lincoln Nursery School is a non-sectarian, non-profit, cooperative nursery school, serving 60 children ages 2.9 to 6 years old. Our community is composed of families from many surrounding towns.
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