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The Power of Collaboration

Today’s post comes from our Senior Kindergarten teachers, and the reflections on ‘coming of age’ as their students near the end of their kindergarten years.

In recent weeks we have noticed a change in the social dynamics of our students.  The Senior Kindergarten Children are moving from what is considered Early Years to School Age. What does this mean? Moving from age 5 to age 6….

Children at this age are better able to understand rules, and may become interested in making sure others do what they are supposed to do. They will develop an increasing interest in organized games and socializing with friends. Six-year-olds often delight in being part of a team or a group, and will enjoy playing team sports.”
This transition often occurs as a gradient and will often appear as a period of influx, as a child learns new rules and expectations.  This may be developmental, but children still require practice and knowledgeable adults to facilitate opportunities for success, while at the same time allowing for conflict as they learn to negotiate social rules and communication.  Conflict is natural and as adults, our role is to support and offer strategies so that when conflict occurs they build strategies to deal in positive and constructive ways.

In a classroom environment there are many children moving through these stages at different times, and thus the influx may appear greater.  Recognizing them is important. It’s happening in our classroom.  They want to play together, they don’t want to play together, they want to work in groups, they want to work alone, they value others ideas, they only want their own idea to be heard.
An activity as simple as a collaborative drawing has allowed our class to work together with a common and well defined goal in mind: to make a beautiful picture.  All the children, no matter what stage of this gradient they are at was able to work cooperatively, sharing materials and taking pride in each other’s contributions.

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Natural block materials provided an in for the children to contribute to an open ended construction, where the rules are simple.  Use the materials to build.  The video shows how negotiation and communication happens naturally and often without words.

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