How is a "we" feeling created. When does it stop being me me me and "MINE" to a more cooperative play and the natural ability to share? Is it something that comes naturally or is it something that has to be learned?
|a "we" painting
I have been reading several articles and blogs about backing off from getting young children to share and sometimes I wonder if this is a very "singleton" way of looking at life? My twins were my first borns - and so my experiences with children have always been ones of sharing and of the joy they had sharing experiences and play and THINGS - in fact I have worked on supporting the girls to find the me in the we.
Balance in EVERYTHING in life is important.
I remember when I was expecting Michael several other mothers were expecting their second child. We sat and chatted with our large bellies, and the larger they got the more anxiety there was amongst the other mothers. How were they going to cope? How were they going to be able to share all their love and devotion between two children - as if suddenly they would be halving their love for their preschooler. I looked at them with wide-eyes - wondering if they thought I only gave half my love to each of the girls and not all my love to both? I was not worried at all about having enough love - but maybe that was because I was already used to "sharing" it - not as halves but as complete wholes.
Maybe we should reconsider sharing with young children not as something that happens when a child gives away one of his toys to another child but as a child gaining a play friend, of developing their empathy and understanding of others. I am not talking about when a child has to disturb a game they are intensely playing, but of the inability to share - for example, I witnessed a child unable to play with the collection of animals because the child was too intent on preventing anyone else playing with them - the child literally curled around and over the toy animals and growled at any child who dared to approach. When I pointed out that the child was not playing with the animals as planned I asked if it might not be a better idea to share some of the animals so that play could be resumed. The idea was approved and animals were offered to others and a richer game then ensued. This is not forcing a child to share, this is allowing a child to understand that play is possible/better/more fun if shared... (although alone play should not be devalued either).
|a "we" experience - sharing insect finds...
It would be fantastic if all children in preschool groups/classes could walk to and from the park as they wanted - stop when they wanted, run when they wanted, check out small details at will and explore - unfortunately this is not always possible. There is road safety so consider, there is ensuring sufficient adult supervision (if there are 3 children running ahead, three children stopped checking out a worm and four others somewhere in the middle in different phases - where are the 2 teachers supposed to be? At the front to ensure the children running end up in the right place (and not under a car), at the back to make sure the last children remember where they are supposed to be going? What about the children in the middle - what happens if there are corners and we lose sight of them?) Feel my hair getting more grey by the second!!!!
We can give our own children (as a family) more freedom to explore - I remember the walk to the small supermarket, 3 blocks away, took us almost 2 hours when the girls were toddlers - it was like a trip to a museum - on the way everything had to be explored, then we had to make discoveries in the store and choose our meals - and then everything had to be rediscovered on the way back (I learned to take a cool bag and ice-packs with me to keep things chilled, and frozen items were bought on a BIG food shop trip when we used the car). They were amazing days learning to marvel at the little things in life...
I think there is still opportunities to stop and allow the children to discover things in their own time at preschool - to pamper the "me" in the "we" - at the same time shared learning is often richer and possible only as a "we".
|a "we" activity it will only work with co-operation - (Michael tried on his own)
This was nothing that came natural. I had moments when I did not know whether to laugh or cry - nine wonderful human beings aged 2-3 (well one will be 4 tomorrow) with their amazing toddler/young children temperaments trying to make sense of everything. Really I should applaud them - they were amazing - so many new things learned in 30 minutes - holding hands, being responsible for another, watching out for friends in front, dealing with the melting snow (revealing an awful lots of dog.... and how to walk with a friend and dodge all that mess - do you walk sideways, backwards? Amazing how tricky it became to walk forwards and watching where you put your feet!!!)...
This was their first try to walk as "we" - and sure there is a whole LOAD of room for improvement - on reflection I think they did really well. Being 2-4 years old is not always the easiest of ages either - a discovery of independence and the desire to be independent but still that longing for dependence. A time of discovering that parents are separate entities to yourself and of mortality! Scary stuff. On reflection it could be said that the journey from "me to we" is also creating a sense of security - we are not alone in our growing independence - and THAT feeling can give the strength to seek and be independent, imaginative and competent.
With a safety net below - daring to take risks is made easier.
So really the journey is from "me" to "we" to "me in we".
|"we" building - melding ideas and skills together
That by learning to become a social being enables us to develop our own personal skills.