12th Jul 2018
One of my classes for toddlers is always busy and fun. We play and dig in the sand, paint with utensils and golf balls, and smash and roll play-dough.
One day, one of the girls, Hazel, was interested in a necklace that another girl was wearing. I thought it would be a good idea to have a necklace-making project for our next class. So the next day, I brought a tray with a variety of sorted beads, plastic needles, and thread.
The children proceeded to make necklaces while Hazel spent the time exploring the colorful beads, and studying and sorting through them. At some point, I decided to hold a needle upright to make the task easier for Hazel. She put three beads onto the string, after which I became occupied with other children while Hazel continued to explore the beads.
Her mom decided to support Hazel in the same way by holding the needle upright. Hazel put another three beads onto the string. She then looked at her mom and said calmly, “I need my space.” Her mom moved back and let Hazel know that she would be happy to give her some space. Hazel continued to explore the beads.
At the end of the class, I tied the necklaces for the children. Hazel only had a few beads on her string. One of the boys looked at his necklace and compared it to her necklace, looking puzzled and pointing at both necklaces. I commented, “You chose to put many beads on your necklace while Hazel chose to have a few.” He replied, “Oh, okay!” It was a great opportunity for Hazel to make the project the way she wanted to and also to be aware of how much help and support she needed. Hazel was able to exercise assertiveness and at the same time be heard by her mom.
In fact, it was a great lesson for me as well! I rarely am able to express myself in such a clear and calm manner when I need space.
Photo credit: Sarah Cho
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