Saturday, 7 March 2015
Any time a new student joins a classroom it changes the dynamics.
How can we prepare our students to be accepting of all students and welcoming to new friends?
In February we were having a lot of impromptu conversations about love. Valentines Day tends to initiate those curiosities. It was the perfect opportunity to explore the golden rule. Loving others and treating them as we would want to be treated is not an easy task for adults, let alone Kindergartners.
Let's be honest. If we take a moment in our daily lives to really pay attention to how we are treating each human being we come into contact with we will notice there is room for improvement. That guy that just cut you off with his big truck? You may feel irritated (in the yellow zone - and maybe even approaching the red), but if you knew he was racing to pick up his sick child from school, or even late for work - afraid that this time would be his boss' last straw - would that change how you feel? This strategy - creating a story- is something that I use all the time to help me to engage my empathy.
Often we differentiate how we treat our students based on what we know about them and their lives. There are so many reasons these differences are necessary. I recently blogged about a band-aid activity I used to explain differentiation to my kindergartners. Our young students may not have the capacity to truly understand differentiation, but they do understand how to love.
Just after Christmas break one of my students moved and our small class was down to 14 students. With no ECE, our class has a maximum capacity of fifteen. Since then, my students have been asking when we will have a new friend join us to replace the student who had left. Often, during prayers we would ask God to send us a new friend. Last week those prayers were answered. A new student joined our classroom - the game-changer.
Welcomed with excitement and open arms, the game-changer tore into our classroom and spun us around like a washing machine. There have been moments where I feel we have gone back in time, and that all our hard work to develop our classroom community has vanished. My students with eyes wide are still adjusting - but something wondrous is occurring. With any concern (ex. The game-changer dumped out all the Lego) my response has been, "the Game-changer needs love". They do not know why nor can they, but yet my students show empathy. They are learning to live by the golden rule.