We work, play, eat, celebrate, imagine, discover, talk, laugh, and create together on so many different levels throughout each and every day. Each toy, tool, and activity brings a new opportunity for interactions with others and a way to learn and discover something new. There are table seats with a small mixed group of friends, circle seats with "turn and talk" partners, bugs on the rug seats where everyone chooses who and where they sit in the meeting area, a variety of play areas in the classroom, quiet spaces in the hallway, cafeteria tables which allow for mixing with other classrooms, related arts throughout the building that support the whole class, and recess opportunities that are limitless.
Wow, that's a lot of interactions for children so very new to school! With all these interactions problems are bound to crop up from time to time. The children are taught to respond to others by using an "I message". If someone takes a marker that you are using you are faced with a situation. Tell the teacher? Grab the marker back? Yell at the other person? Use your body to get what you want? All of these options have been tried by children so far this year. Slowly, very slowly, children are responding by simply saying, "I don't like it when you take the marker I'm using. I need it to finish my drawing." The majority of the time the offending child does not know that the marker was in use (even when it's in someones hand) and being told directly results in understanding and a return of the marker. The offender must also apologize using a complete sentence, "I'm sorry that I took the marker. I won't do it again." Problem solving at it's best!
Through all of these interactions the children are beginning to form new friendships and are becoming more aware of others strengths and common interests. Kindergarten is a busy and exciting place to be, for all of us!