With a new toy comes a lesson on grace and courtesy
Learning through play is what children do, and recently we noticed that the preschool children have taken great interest in the trucks and locomotive toys in the playground. So we purchased different 'working vehicles', such as the metal front loader (photo) to maximise the opportunities for play and exploration.
With every new addition to the play environment, we always ask why? We question the purpose and how might the learning be extended. In this case the enjoyment of the trucks is clear, and being mindful of supporting the children in their social skills, we gave them a Grace and Courtesy lesson on turn-taking and on caring for the toy/object thereby encouraging the children to be actively responsible in the care of the environment.
Needless to say, the children were happy, excited and interested so they have practised their amazing listening skills while older children modelled the right language and behaviour for turn-taking through a mini role play.
Children need to be competent in three cognitive areas before they can help, cooperate or be generous.
The 3 areas are the following:
- Cognitive competencies, e.g I can make things happen. I can share a toy.
- Emotional competencies, e.g I am beginning to understand that somebody wants to play with the toy as well. He is allowed a turn.
- Specific skills, e.g I have some sharing skills. I know how to respond to someone who is asking for a turn or ask someone for a turn. I can come back for a turn.
If a child has the cognitive and emotional competencies but does not yet have the skills of sharing, he/she would not be able to share and this is why we explicitly teach the language and skill of sharing and turn-taking.
Links to the Early Years Framework
1.1.2 Responsive teaching , planning and scaffolding; Educators respond to children’s ideas, interest and play.
1.2.1 Intentional Teaching; Educators are deliberate , purposeful and thoughtful in their decisions and actions as well as their guiding and teaching.