An Agreement to not force sharing and/or other behaviors…
At The Wonder Studio, we believe in offering children a time and a place to practice social skills, independence, and self-regulation.
In our commitment to Wonder Studio as a place where children can feel empowered and creative, we ask that parents and caregivers take a step back and take advantage of this time and space as an opportunity to learn from and about your child(ren).
Our goal as teachers, is to create a united front among our Wonder Studio communities to trust our children and their beautiful human instinct to engage socially with others. Young children’s social interactions will look very different from an adult’s social interactions.
As caregivers, we understand that our young children, will benefit from making social mistakes. We will step in (when possible) to physically prevent hitting, biting, pushing, scratching, (putting your body/hand/arm between the children with the language, “I will not let you hit/scratch/bite Johnny.” but otherwise, will offer the following guidance for young children:
1. A non-judgmental attitude including not labeling children as mean, not nice, bossy, shy, push-over, etc..
2. Confidence and understanding that the child(ren) has a right to choose his/her level of social engagement.
3. Narrate or “sportscast” the experience of the child(ren) when social problem-solving is happening.
4. Emotional “coaching” …”do you need a hug?” “it looks like you are frustrated.” “he looks sad that you took the ball from him.”
5. Time and space to reflect in isolation (not time-out). Sitting with a child outside away from the group to decrease the sensory stimuli and to gain perspective is beneficial but please do not use as a punishment.
6. Encourage and offer Language (including body language and sign language) as a tool for the child(ren). In the heat of the moment, children often forget which words/actions can help and/or don’t understand the utterances of their studio mates.
“You can tell Johnny, No.” “Hold out your hand and say, “Can I have the ball?” “Now we wait and see.” “Johnny is shaking his head and saying, “No.” “Would you like to sit here and wait for your turn or would you like to go and do something else while you wait?”
The teachers at The Wonder Studio understand that the adults in the room are able to Problem-solve and regulate children’s behaviors (through time-outs, punishments, timers, labeling, bribing, and forcing social/cognitive behaviors as well as forcing kids to apologize).
However, we are instead choosing to consciously practice a mindfulness that allows the child a time and space to practice SELF-regulation. We understand that this means the child will make mistakes but we are choosing to value those mistakes as opportunities for learning.
Shannon Lipan and The Wonder Studio teachers.
A blog and Video to describe our agreement.