The other day I was thinking about the daily battles adults have with children. It looks like a power struggle. It looks like adults are constantly trying to assert their dominion over children. I think we see this a lot in parenting and in teaching. Kids should know their place. I don't believe we as adults, having more experience and knowledge, should allow kids to just do whatever they want but I do think we need to be purposeful in the things we decide to stand on. One of those things is always asking students to sit criss crossed. This becomes a daily battle and one must ask one self, why? Why are we willing to fight about this every day. It could be the end of the school year and still one kid will invariably need the reminder to sit criss crossed. I like to craft. I like to sit criss crossed and so one day while I was crafting sitting this way I realized that I needed to move around. I had the need to adjust the way I was sitting throughout the hour that I was sitting. I thought to myself that if I as an adult needed the ability to adjust the way I was sitting to get more comfortable, why are we taking that away from kids? Because of this, I have had two scenarios in the classroom depending on the personality of the children. I've had scenarios where one child ends up lying down during story time and I don't say anything about it so other children begin to do this as well. I personally enjoy this time. I love that the kids are having the opportunity to fully enjoy the story. They don't have to think about the way that they are sitting and how it is starting to get uncomfortable. From the beginning they can just lie in a way that is comfortable for them. The other instance I've had is that I have given the kids the choice to sit on the rug or on a chair. Many children knew how they preferred to sit and would get a chair from the beginning, but sometimes a child would start on the floor and then get up to sit on a chair. It was never a huge interruption. The other children already having picked the way that suited them would continue to listen to the story.
I supposed some would wonder, well what about when they go to another classroom and that is not allowed? Children adapt. Every teacher has the ability to create the environment they would like to create. I can just say from my experience that doing things this way where I allowed the kids some choice in how they sat during story time helped create a community. It felt like a more familial setting. In doing so, I also didn't have to continuously battle something that isn't of that much importance. I learned to pick the things that I cared about. In this instance, I cared more that the children would be involved in the story and actively listening than how they were sitting so that is what I emphasized. Have you tried this in your classroom? Did it work? Are you scared of what would happen if you allowed this? I'd love to hear your experiences.
March 13 2017