Thursday, October 25, 2012

Playground or Jungle

I have the privileged of 'working' at Ayden Jane's preschool.  It is fun to get to know all the kids and see Ayden Jane in her environment.  I am not in the classroom much, partly because I think I would be a distraction for AJ and partly because it just hasn't happened.

I do see AJ a lot on the playground.  She has sort of evolved in her playground skills over the years at St. Peter's.  In the 2's I am not really sure what she did.  I know she figured out how to pump a swing and she liked to slide, but I have no idea if she really used those skills much at school.  In the 3's it became evident that AJ was way better at talking to the teachers than playing with her peers.  She spent much of her playground time standing around the teachers and talking to them.  She just didn't really know how to play with the other kids... Now that she is in the 4's, it has been awesome to see her playing.  No more teacher stalking.

This leads me to the real reason for this post.  We all know that the preschool years and for a long time to come, the playground is a bit of a jungle.  Kids are sorting out how to play together, the give and take involved.  They are also learning about a 'social ladder' of sorts.  They likely can't explain any of this, but you sort of see a survival of the fittest unfold.

The other day I saw AJ and stopped to say hi.  She was playing in a tunnel of the playground equipment, just sort of talking to herself.  I asked her if she wanted to play with ____ just to see what she would say.  Her answer surprised me.  She said, "I can't play with her.  She and ____ told me I can't play with them."  Now the mama bear in me wanted to drop kid those cute little girls, but I know that Ayden Jane needs to learn to stand up for herself.  I told her that she could play with them and to ask again if she wanted to play.  To tell them that they could all play together.  I wandered over to her teacher and told her what was up and just as we looked over to see how it was going, AJ was asking to play.  Her question was received by the answer no and a shove.

Yes, her teacher called the girls over and handled it.  After that all 3 went off together ready to play.  Well, until the kindergartners came out and a boy called for AJ to come play with him.  She ditched the little girls in a flash!

As I thought about the experience later in the day, I realized that Ayden Jane displayed an amazing self confidence.  Honestly, probably better than my other girls would have.  When told no by her friends (well one of the girls is a friend) AJ was not crushed or angry. She did not wonder what was wrong with herself.  She did not try to win their approval.  She simply went off to find something else to do.  When given the opportunity to forgive, she did so quickly and was happy to play with the girls with no hesitation.

Ayden Jane showed me that she is happy with who she is and that her self confidence and self worth is not based on anyone else.  What more could I ask.  I think they may be the best skills possible to survive the jungle.  (I mean playground)

1 comment:

  1. Love this post!!

    I agree. If Dean can learn skills about playing with other people, maintaining his self-confidence in a world that is not always kind, especially to people who are different, he'll be better off than a lot of other people out there...