Items filtered by date: September 2019
Sunday, 15 September 2019 18:26

I need a meeting...

It's easy to get along during the first few days of school. We're all excited to see our old friends and play our favorite games together at free time. I've noticed that the children in YG are starting to move out of the "honeymoon stage" and into some deeper work - the work of conflict resolution. 

Conflict is a natural part of communities that work as closely as the groups at our school. We try not to shy away from it. Working through conflict is one of the most important things the children learn at school. It amazes me to hear the solutions the children come up with because oftentimes, the solutions the children agree on are not solutions I or any other adult would suggest.  They are not strictly bound by codes of justice, utility, egalitarianism or others that would inform conflict resolution in the adult world. The outcomes they value in resolving a conflict are sometimes different than the outcomes a grown-up would prefer.

Allowing these creative solutions to exist is part of a larger guiding principle at school - children are allowed to be themselves. We restrict the amount of top-down judgments and this allows for a flexible, wide path to solve our problems together. 

 

 

Monday, 09 September 2019 00:11

"Playing with Cuisenaire rods is math work?!"

Most mornings in the YG involve math rotations. We do a combination of work that I choose for the children, and work they choose themselves. One student was surprised that one of their "free math" choices was playing with Cuisenaire rods! Playing with Cuisenaire rods is something the children often want to do at other times when they get to choose their work, like project time or free time.

Lots of children who are YG ages (6-9) are in a concrete stage in their cognitive development. Their work is... playing with concrete objects! While they play with these manipulatives they are making discoveries that lead them forward in their math work, and all the while, it's fun! 

 

The first few days of school were so much fun for the YG! There were games of zombie infection tag, RipStik-ing, make-believe, reconnecting with old friends, and meeting new ones.  The first day we were all together, there was some trouble at morning free time. There was wild trike riding going on. Some of the students voiced their concern to MJ and me. After our regular morning meeting, we talked about how we use the trikes as a group. This was a wonderful segue into creating our YG agreements. 

The agreements are a set of guidelines we make together. They are the foundation of how we go about our day-to-day lives at school. They help everyone feel safe - the agreements outline the boundaries of what feels safe and right, and what does not. 

The children know what feels safe and unsafe, right and wrong, just and unjust. It’s great to be able to give them the space to set those boundaries together. 

 

Here is the first draft of the YG Agreements. It was created by the children in the class and recorded by MJ, me and one of the children who volunteered as a scribe: 

 

  1. We do not hit, punch, tackle, or push each other and we do not step on people’s feet. 
  2. No running in the hallway or in the classroom. 
  3. Don’t be rude. 
  4. Don’t call names or use mean or bad words.
  5. Save big energy for outside. 
  6. Take care of the school, equipment, and supplies. 
  7. No destroying things. 
  8. No taking stuff from other kids. 
  9. Be safe on the tire swing.
  10. Don’t cut through the school for outside games. 

 

On trikes:

  1. We do not stand on trikes. We only push them from behind to get them started, not to go really fast, and we don’t push on the porch. 
  2. People driving trikes should be careful. 
  3. We do not crash the trikes on purpose, but connecting them is ok. 
  4. Stop your trike if you see a person ahead. 
  5. No going really fast by the porch doors. 
  6. We do not crash trikes into RipStiks. 

 

As the year gets going, we may discover that these agreements need to be adjusted, or we may have missed something really important to us. I’d say we’re off to a good start. 

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