Discover Common Ground (Solution 4)

21 Oct

Okay, here we go. Day 4…..Solution 4: Discover Common Ground

 It’s kind of getting late in the day, and I’m rushing to get this post up, but I have a good explanation for my procrastination. I spent the morning at the Arizona Head Start Association’s Mental Health Symposium, presenting a workshop on Bringing Boys and Girls Together in the Early Childhood Setting. See…my excuse is relevant. In fact, we spent some time visiting the top ten solutions list during our session, and some great ideas were shared – specifically having to do with guiding kids in finding common ground.

At one point during the workshop we shared different scenarios having to do with kids excluding one another. One of the stories was about a group of girls playing in the loft area of the classroom while a group of boys played below. As the story progressed, the action of the boys’ game took the kids up the stairs where they were stopped by a girl declaring, “No boys allowed!” A piece of background information we shared was that the boys were playing superheroes and the girls had been playing restaurant. When we asked the audience what, if anything, they would do if this was something that was happening in their care, one participant shared the following response:

Well superheroes have to eat too, don’t they? I would probably praise the kids for creating such a fine food establishment.  After all, it isn’t everyday that you have superheroes waiting to dine in your restaurant. I would maybe even encourage the kids to work together to come up with a menu suitable for these action heroes who likely had worked up an appetite fighting crime and what have you…..

It was brilliant. What a great, creative way to bring kids together. Through modeling and guiding, we can help kids discover ways to integrate each other’s ideas. And I think we can all pretty much agree that positive reinforcement is the glue that holds many great happenings together and keeps kids coming back for more.

So whether it is the creation of a whole new game or simply pointing out, “Hey Sarah, you know who also loves animals? Justin!” we can help boys and girls discover some common ground and encourage them to engage in positive ways.

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