Friday, 9 October 2015

Collaboration

I marvel at how my group of children collaborate... and the joy they gain from this... but I also marvel at the egocentricity of this collaboration...

We travelled across town to Tessinpark (two trains on the underground system) as there are lots of horse chestnut trees and the aim was collect conkers (chestnuts)... and we collected a LOT (which my poor back felt when carrying them all back in the backpack on the way bakc for lunch). At the park there is an egg like sculpture that can be played in... very familiar to me as my own children have played in it many times as their preschool, when they were small, was close to htis park.

The children needed to collaborate to be able to access it... to not only use their backs as a step up... but also collectively their arms to assist their friends further up the egg. The children lined up and took it in turns and collaborated well...




BUT when I said there was time for one more slide each before we would move onto the playground the whole collaborative system broke down... as soon as the children had had their turn they became restless and wanted to move on... played at the edges and forgot to help those still waiting for their turn. From being ALL hands on to help it changed into ME reminding that friends still required help...

I can find parallels with dialogues... often over the years, and still do, I see how children when they have said their part, their idea, switch off and not bother listening anymore...

This is why I do the bubble game... with many turns in a row for one person (so that no child is absolutely certain that it is not their turn next) and also why I seldom go round the circle or make sure that everyone talks before they get to speak for a second or third time... as making it fair with the number of times we talk or the order we talk in can switch of the co-operative, collaborative and listening child...

This was so obvious as soon as I mentioned "one more slide" - it was as if saying, when you have had your slide then it is over...

So maybe what I have to think about is how am I to phrase this next time... so that they understand that it is not about when "you" have had your lest slide it is over... but when everyone in the group has had their last slide... so that the are understanding that this is a WE situation and not a ME situation.

BUT I am still really proud of the collaboration... and of how when another preschool approached the egg, as we sat on the rocks eating apples, and they struggled to climb up... my group simply walked over and showed them how they needed to work together to get up and enjoy the egg.

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