Modeling Problem-Solving for Preschoolers

October 1st, 2012 by Dionna | 2 Comments
Posted in Consensual Living, Gentle/Positive Discipline, natural parenting

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I heard Kieran’s scream from the top of the play structure. I looked up and saw a boy hitting at Kieran, and just as Kieran started to shove back, I hollered for him to move away and come down the slide. Thankfully, he came.

A woman I’d spoken with earlier – a teacher from the school across the street – asked me if one of her kids had been involved. I had no idea, and frankly, I didn’t care. It happens, and I could have let Kieran decompress on his own. But she called the boy down.

“Johnny, come down here, it sounds like you two boys have something to talk about.”

This is when I looked sideways to my mama friends standing on the sidelines. My look translated said, Oh no. What have we gotten ourselves into?! I was convinced that the teacher was about to force the children to apologize, something that we’re not in the habit of doing.

Johnny came down the slide, and the teacher asked him what happened.

Johnny: “He . . . he . . . he wouldn’t let Angie go down the ladder.”

Kieran: “I was protecting the ladder for my friends. He hit me and scratched me on the mouth!”

Teacher: “Johnny, were you worried that your friend was not safe?”

Johnny: “Yes, Angie was going to fall.”

Kieran: “I was not going to push her!”

Teacher: “It sounds like you used actions, Johnny, to show this boy that you did not like what he was doing. {Looking at Kieran} You look like a pretty big boy, are you four years old? Or five?”

Kieran: “I’m 4 and 3/4.”

Teacher: “I bet someone who is 4 and 3/4 years old can understand words from friends. Johnny, could you tell this boy with your words what you were worried about?

Johnny: “I was worried you would push Angie.”

Kieran: “I was not going to push her.”

Teacher: “When we are worried about something, let’s use our words, not our actions. Words tell the other person what you are thinking. Actions can hurt.”

By this time, Kieran was no longer upset, and the other boy was in no way feeling any shame or fear. It was just a calm conversation.

I was floored. Not only had this teacher not forced the kids to apologize, but she had calmed Kieran down (something that is sometimes hard to do with my sensitive kiddo) and let the two kids practice problem-solving skills.

Every school should have such thoughtful, gentle teachers. And this is the kind of priceless advertisement every school should strive for! So thank you, Kit Smith from Pembroke Hill School – you made my day.

photo credit: Abdullah AL-Naser via photopin cc

2 Responses to:
"Modeling Problem-Solving for Preschoolers"

  1. Kelly

    I noticed your look. I, too, was impressed.

  2. Vidya Sury   vidyasury

    More proof that children understand logic :D I love the way she handled it. Glad it was gentle on the children!

    Dionna, have your removed the “tweet” button?

    Love, Vidya.

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