Sometimes we just can’t finish a plan without some assistance. The children have lofty goals when we are exploring the Northbound Trail. Quickly, they realize that their plan requires more hands than they have available.
Asking for help takes both language and cognitive skills. The children must interpret the sensory input they are receiving and accurately weigh the possible outcomes they are faced with while working alone. A tipping point is reached when they decide that another body would be helpful.
The next big obstacle is verbalizing their need to a nearby peer or adult. Knowing “how” to ask for help may seem like a no brainer, but it’s harder than we expect . There is more than one way to ask for help. Some ways will get you the assistance you desire and others will not. For instance, would you agree to help someone who is yelling at you? What if they were talking to you in an exceptionally quiet voice while looking at the ground? One of the most common ways for young children to ask for help is to stand near an adult or peer and stare at them. For reasons I’m sure you can appreciate, that doesn’t always work out.
Guiding children as they develop the skills they need to ask for and receive help is an exciting part of Pre-Kindergarten. Luckily, we’ve got plenty of opportunities for large scale projects and risk-stretching experiences on our Northbound Trail.
In the pictures below, you will see a few examples of Helping Each Other. One child decided that he wanted to place a very large stick so that the tip went through a “Y” in a nearby tree. The mark just happened to be located about 10 feet above the forest floor. Asking a teacher for help got the job done. Mrs. Pless helped carry the stick and aimed while our 4-year-old placed the point in it’s designated spot. This child’s idea inspired a few others to try this plan, as well.
Another child found a detached, curved vine and was determined to make it into a tunnel. However, it was impossible to hold the vine up while experimenting with arrangements to stablize the log. After a few tries, this child enlisted a number of friends to steady the vine. Eventually, she found that using large rocks, she could prop the ends in a manner that would make the tunnel usable.
Near the end of our Green Day, or Forest Four, the children discovered one last tree to climb. Many of the children became anxious about coming down once they perched along the first junction. The branching point that they enjoyed standing on wasn’t very high, but it appeared to be a big drop once you were standing there. Asking friends for help and receiving assistance became very important to the children. Happiliy, many friends rose to the challenge.