Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog


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We’ve got this.

P1230338Two children were having a heated discussion regarding the distribution of toy cars.  We decided that the problem could best be solved by visiting the Peace Table.  In case you missed the introduction before, the Peace Table is a special place where two or more friends can work together to solve a problem.

Both children amicably sat down and I began my usual spiel.  To each child I asked, “What do you want?”  Both stated that they wanted to make a football game with the cars.  One child had been previously playing in the area before moving to make a ramp for a separate game.  The other child, inspired by the first, moved over to create their own football game.  Once we figured out that the “problem” was that both wanted to use the cars to play football, we spent five minutes trying to find a solution.  One child suggested that he should get all of the cars and the other child could play something else.  When I questioned whether it would solve the problem if the other child, instead, got all the cars, the first child said emphatically, “Mrs. Forst, why don’t you go inside [the classroom] and we’ll figure this out.”

Turns out they didn’t really need my help at all.  It seems that my presence simply prolonged the argument.  Two minutes later, they returned to the classroom.  They had solved their problem and decided to play the game together.  Again, I am reminded that children are a lot more capable than we give them credit for.  Luckily, they knew they could handle it.

 


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Who will solve the problem?

p1170373Conflicts often arise when children play together. Each is a teachable moment. Although we could easily solve the issue for the children, we prefer to teach them how to find solutions on their own. Responsive Classroom, used here, is one of many programs that model conflict resolution in which the students are actively involved in the process.

Recently, playing “family” has been extremely popular with many of our students. The roles the children take vary from day-to-day and minute to minute. Conflict arises when two people either want to play the same part or one person wishes to control the entire story.

In the conversation below, two children were unhappy because they both wanted to play the same character role. Mrs. Forst invited them to talk . Before Mrs. Forst could begin working with our well-practiced conflict resolution strategy, a third child offered to help them on her own.

Susie: “I want to be the mom, but Henrietta says I can’t.”
Henrietta: “I want to be the mom.”
Georgette: “I know what they could do. Henrietta could be the mom first and then Susie can be the mom.”
Mrs. Forst: “Do you agree Susie?”
Susie: “No.”
Georgette: “I know, they can both be the moms. There can be two moms.”
Mrs. Forst: “Do you both agree?”
Henrietta and Susie: “Yes!”
Mrs. Forst: “You solved your problem!”