Perhaps we are in the honeymoon period. Perhaps they are simply an exceptional group of preschoolers. Whatever the case, I want to share with you a wonderful example of 4 year olds at play who are doing all the things we (as teachers and parents) hope they will do. The conversation in the sandbox went like this:
B says to JR “Can I have that (truck) cause I like those?”
Teacher Cindy is impressed because B is asking in such a friendly way. She is so clear about what she wants and can express it verbally.
Jo says to B “You can have that.” (gives B a different truck than what she’s asking for that no one is actually using at the moment)
Teacher Cindy is impressed because Jo has listened carefully to his friends playing beside him and recognized what B wants. He knows that his friend JR is using the truck and may not want to give it up yet. Jo has come up with a possible alternative for his friend B which may satisfy her wish for a truck; he’s looking for a way to solve this problem.
JR says to B (he is playing with the truck that B wants) “You can have it when I’m done.”
Teacher Cindy is impressed because JR is advocating for himself and what he wants in a clear and friendly way. JR is showing he has a backbone; he’s not going to give up what he likes the first time a friend asks for it if he’s actually enjoying himself.
B waits patiently for her turn.
Teacher Cindy is impressed because she knows it is hard for B to wait when she really likes the truck that JR is using.
Jo says to B “If you want a shovel you can get one.”
Teacher Cindy notices that Jo is trying to find solutions to this problem; he’s thinking of other ideas to help his friend B wait for her turn.
After a while B says to JR “Now are you done?”
Teacher Cindy is impressed that B is continuing to ask in a friendly way after waiting a while. This takes patience and self-regulation skills.
JR passes his truck with the digging scoop to B; this was the one she was waiting for!
Teacher Cindy is impressed because JR shared on his own without any prompting from a teacher; he does seem to be genuinely finished now.
B says to everyone “Mine is a really good one and I give everyone sand.” (She scoops sand with the truck and brings it to her friends.)
Teacher Cindy notices that B is really happy to get her turn with the truck. Her friends have shared with her and now she wants to give sand to them.
C sits beside his friend putting sand into the water wheel and spinning it.
Teacher Cindy is pleased because he (C) is so able to focus on his own play/work and is completely engaged in what he is doing.
I promise you that this is actually what happened and my quotes are very close to word for word. This does not happen every day at preschool. There are times when sharing, waiting for a turn, staying focused on play, and finding solutions can be really challenging. However, when this does happen we have lots of reasons to feel enormously pleased because these children are learning so much about life simply by playing uninterrupted in the sandbox.