Teacher: Friends, we seem to have trouble getting outside together on time after lunch. I wanted to ask you for ideas on how we can get outside a bit quicker. (After children finish their food, they go to different stations in our studio to play with different materials while everyone else is done.)
Z raises his hand: Well, what if we clean up our lunch and go to the cubby room.
Teacher: So, you are saying we go from putting away lunches to the cubby room? Ok
L: What if we clean our puzzles all together quickly and go get ready for outside.
Teacher: And you are saying we clean together. What does everyone thinks of these options?
Other voices: “Clean clean” “go outside.”
Teacher: So it sounds like we are all going to help each other clean up faster so we can go outside faster.
Discussions like this one happen often at Wheelhouse, where we make decisions together with the children about how to solve problems that arise in the flow of our days. Adults take into account children's ideas and facilitate the road to making a desicion that affects all of us.
Another tool we use for making decisions is voting. Like at the beginning of the school year when we chose the name of Crickets for our class. The teachers brought some suggestions, and children used voting to determine what our class name would be. We had wooly bears, crickets, and dragonflies. We asked children to raise their hand for each name, counted together, and picked the name with the biggest number: Crickets.
We see that children can be active members of communities and society. That is why we encourage and acknowledge their capacity to deal with problems.
Coming up in January we are going to start working on an action project where we will identify an issue or a problem that the children care about, and use a multistep process to learn more about it, and to find potential ways of solving it. We would like to spend as much as it takes on this venture, allowing space and time for more learning together.
To do this, we might come up with a prompt such as:
If you were in charge of the play yard at school, how would you make it better?
Or if you were in charge of the earth what would you do to make it a better place to be?
We are looking forward to starting this new journey with the children and see where it take us!!