Our cup creations have evolved from balancing to creating large scale pictures. As the children were building this image, they discussed the placement of the colors to create a shark. I noticed something a bit different when looking from my head height.
When the children realized what I was smiling about, they wished to see from my perspective as well.
Now much of our building must be viewed from “up high.”
We have noticed many new friendships blooming in the early, autumn breeze. Helping children move between friends on a weekly and daily basis is a lesson in flexibility for all of us. Young children can have a very difficult time recognizing social cues sent by their peers.
The most common complaints outside are that “Bobby” either won’t play with me or isn’t my friend anymore. There are a couple of directions we could take with these statements. The first is to call over the other student and directly handle the issue, attempting to solve the dilemma for all involved. The second, and more commonly used within the Responsive Classroom approach, is to meet with the affected parties and oversee a discussion in which they solve their own problems.
We encourage the children to tell each other what they are thinking and feeling. Young children (and even adults) often forget to take the other person’s perspective into consideration when weighing an issue. The emotionally injured child frequently finds that the offending party simply “went off to play somewhere else,” not even realizing that someone was left behind. At other times, we discover that the child didn’t truly ask “Bobby” if he wanted to play. Instead, the child stood near “Bobby” and was disappointed when “Bobby” wandered off.
Perspective taking is not something we expect our Pre-K students to master. In fact, it is a skill humans continue to work on throughout life. Four and five year-olds can work on using language to express their own perspective. Vocalization both cements their personal understanding of a situation and allows others to consider a differing point of view.
A new skill that we have recently introduced is poll-taking. Technically, we have been using polls since the beginning of the year on our morning message. However, this time, the students were in-charge of reading the question and collecting the data! We discussed why we use polls, how to mark each vote, and how to read the results.
First, we used polls that were already designed with a question and a space to record answers. The children chose which question they wanted to ask, and then walked around the room polling each member of our class. After everyone was finished, we discussed which category had the most, least, and middle amount of votes.
Once they understood the main components of a poll, we were able to move on to creating a poll from scratch. Would they want their poll to be a “yes or no” or multiple choice question? Would they use tally marks or color in the square for each vote? Each child was given a blank grid and instructed to write down all the components of their question. When their poll was finally completed, it was time to vote! In the poll below, this child asked her classmates if they liked milk, juice, or chocolate milk the best.
This activity helps students practice their math skills including graphing, data collection, and reading the results of a graph. The students also practiced sounding out words, using their “kid writing”, and using perspective taking. During this age, children can have difficulty understanding that other people may feel differently than they do. The child taking the poll might really like juice the best, and may be surprised when more people vote for milk. Taking polls can show children that it is okay for people to feel differently about various topics.