Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Fun of Not Sharing

RM approaches her buddy
"Does it work for you?" is one of those phrases that pops up all the time at Tumbleweed.  It's often used by a child after they state their idea for a plan - they know the plan won't work unless it works for everyone!  It's such a pleasure to see the two- and three-year-olds of Cohort 10 + 12 working on skills like negotiating, problem solving, self-advocacy and listening.  The group feels like a safe place to test out these skills and be emotionally supported while trying out new social behavior.

A frequent site of this type of problem solving is the rope swings.  We have two swings, but one is inevitably the favorite, the one that all the children want all the time!  The purple rope swing is the site of many physical feats for this group, and also a place where lots of creative problem solving takes place.

"Count to five!"
On Monday morning, LC was happily swinging away.  RM approached and asked her friend, "Can I use the rope swing?" and LC let her know, "You can use it when I'm all done."  RM looked disappointed, she didn't want to wait.  Then LC thought for a few seconds, and said, "Count to five, and then it's your turn!  Does that work for you?"

A delighted look came across RM's face: "Yeah!  It works for me!"  She ran to the other side of the maple tree from where the rope swing hangs, and shouted "One!  Two!  Three!  Four!  Five!"  Then she ran back to LC.  Both children were beaming and giggling.  LC said: "Now you count to three!  And then it's your turn!"  RM said: "Okay!" and ran off to do her counting.

This went on for several minutes, both children so pleased with this game.  RM was showing off her counting skills, of which she is so proud, and LC was still swinging on the swing, finding it hilarious that RM was doing all this counting and running.  The back and forth had turned into it's own game.  It worked for them both!
It works! 

This moment of pure fun was kid-generated and untouched by adult rules and ideas about sharing and taking turns.  It was about connection and enjoyment, not really about the rope swing at all!

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