When a child is able to share, the satisfaction on his/her face is so gratifying.
Their story is important.
When we give children the opportunity to share, and reflect back to them their story, they feel heard and acknowledged.
The child traces the highlighted words.
Once the story is complete, I read it to the child.
When we give children the opportunity to share their feelings, they feel heard and acknowledged.
Often times, all they need to get themselves out of a sour mood is to hear their feelings reflected back to them.
They are looking for a responsive listening ear, not necessarily for a solution.
Offering advice is a natural thing for teachers and parents to want to do.
We see them upset; we hear them angry or sad.
We want to ease their sadness and provide them with a fix for their problem.
In some situations, a quiet, simple acknowledgement (oh/mmm/I see) can be all the invitation the child needs to explore their own thoughts and feelings.
Through this exploration they may come up with their own solution.
Ozzie got very sad.
Ozzie: I was going to sit there. I want to sit there. I pulled that chair out.
Morah Katie: You may sit here. (I pointed to an empty chair at the table-offering a solution).
Ozzie: NO. I want to sit there.
Morah Katie: (trying the listen/reflect approach) You wanted to sit in this chair. You are feeling frustrated. Or at least you look frustrated to me.
Ozzie: Yeah I am sad.
Morah Katie: You are sad.
Ozzie was just silent.
Ozzie then chose to sit in the empty chair and draw his Passover memory
Colette: I don't like that they are playing that game.
Morah Katie: I see that.
Colette: I am upset my friends don't want to play my game. I like my game.
Morah Katie: You really like your game.
Colette sighed. Rowen came over.
Colette: Let's play.
They created a new game together.
Matan: I don't like it when they do that. I don't think it is funny.
Morah Katie: Have you told them? (solution approach))
He walked away looking disgruntled and not at ease.
Morah Katie: It sounds like you are frustrated your creation was broken. (listen/reflect)
Matan: Yes. I am sad about it.
Morah Katie:You look sad about it, and annoyed.
Matan: Yes. I'm going to go play now.
Morah Katie: OK.
And what may sound like a "I'm not getting my way" may simply be a wish in disguise.
In both cases, once theses feelings and thoughts are expressed these situations can help a child shake off a sour mood and start having a better day.
Helping kids feel good will help them make good choices.
We can help them feel good when we accept and acknowledge their feelings.
I would like to recommend the book I am currently reading for my own growth as a parent, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
As I read it, I see the similarities to what we do at The Gan.
I purposely paid close attention to particular aspects this week in the classroom.
I hope you will find this book recommendation useful.
I know I do as a mom and teacher.