Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Right to Choose

My goal was to observe at the Preschool House today during the lunch to nap transition.  I walked in to that lovely chorus of Hellos and quickly found myself deep in conversation about companies that don't pay their workers enough money to support their families and the differences in opinions about the differences between fairies and angels... Wowza.
And while I incredulously listened to three children happily debate the finer points of fairies vs. angels (such as wings or no wings, visible or invisible wings, the ability to help people who need money for doctors or not, the ability to fly--regardless of wingedness--or not fly, adornments such as bracelets and dresses, real or imaginary, etc.), an interaction between IO and KC quietly peaked my interest as well.

At first, I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I saw IO quietly discussing something with KC and gently adjusting the buttons on his overalls.  Her care and attentiveness to his wants was beautiful, and he clearly felt good about the process--smiling and watching as she pushed the buttons through.

I peeked over and saw SC pulling her underwear on over her pants and her dress/shirt over her head in a wonky/half inside out manner.  She peered down at the finished product of her rest time outfit and proceeded to set up her mat.

One of the amazing tools (Thank you Love and Logic) we use to foster participation in care activities and transitions is Choice.  As teachers, we think a lot about what can or cannot be a choice, and our decisions usually evolve over time depending on the needs, abilities, and challenges of each classroom.  Clearly, these guys know that they get to choose what they wear at nap time. 

Looking around, I noticed all sorts of apparel choice:  pants on, pants off, socks on, socks off, dresses over shirts, undies over pants...  The choice is made very intentionally!  And the ownership and pride that accompany this choice flow into a general feel-good process of getting ready for resting.  

I look back at IO and KC and can hear her ask, "Now, would you like these snaps to be open like a dress?" "Yeah, yeah," KC nods emphatically.  

KC also wants his straps crossed in the back...

This work of choosing clothing is taken seriously.  The children see it as an important task that will help them be prepared for resting.  They enjoy the process of getting ready to rest! And they are even using the process as a way to build relationships with each other... Preschoolers rock!  

1 comment:

  1. "The way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not following directions." - Alfie Kohn (c/o Echo Parenting & Education)