Cooperation! It's a good thing. It's a wonderful thing. 20 sweet little students all holding hands, singing Kumbaya, sharing materials with a smile, telling each other "Good job!", skipping together hand in hand...
I mean, really---isn't EVERY room just like this! YEAH, RIGHT!
I had you fooled for a minute there. You thought, "WOW! This woman must be perfect. Her room sounds so great! What perfect little kiddos!"
Now...let's flash to a REAL day in kindergarten---at least in the early days!
Cooperation! It's a 4 letter word! 20 sweet little students refusing to hold hands cause well, "She's a giiiirrrrrl.", singing fart songs, snatching materials because "I had it FIRST!", telling each other "I am NOT your friend. You CUT in line. That's MY pencil.", skipping along and crashing into others because well "They were in my way!"
Does that sound more like it?
Well---in steps the awesome counselor ready to help build that much needed skill of almost every 5 year old I know!
Today Mrs. R came in to help us learn about how to respect one another and work TOGETHER to get things done. She had 3 really FUN activities planned for us.
First Up: Parachute Toss (forgot to take pics of this one!)
I mean honestly, what kiddo doesn't LOVE parachute games? They were all clapping and smiling and so stinkin' excited to get their hands on that thing! She tossed about 6 bean bags on there and first they had to work together to POP those bad boys ALL over the place, but they had to keep them ON the parachute. Next they did the same thing, but they had to get them all OFF of it!
Next Up: 3 Legged Race
We paired off the kiddos and then used a scarf to tie their inside legs together. Then Mrs. R found a spot in the room (it's a storage room so don't go thinking my class is all plain and boring and sad, so sad) and then the pairs played Red Light, Green Light. (Just in case you don't know this game, when she says "green light" everyone can move. When she says "red light" everyone has to stop. If they are caught moving on a "red light" they have to go back and start over.) She pumped it up a bit by moving her spot so that they never knew exactly which direction they needed to go and they had to change course often...thus making them really have to work together!
It was pretty easy to tell who wasn't really thinking about cooperation as soon as Mrs. R said GO! One little whipper snapper was REEEVVVVING his engine and took off...leaving his partner in a tangled heap on the floor. He joined her there pret-ty darn quickly! Another 2 kiddos basically yelled and hollered and gave a few "love taps" when the other wouldn't listen and do what THEY said! BUT...and this is a happy BUT...BUT some of them GOT IT! They started linking hands, wrapping their arms around each other, helping one another up if they did get tangled up, and I swear---I think I may have even heard a couple of them singing Kumbaya!
Last But Not Least: The Ball Pass
The kiddos got in a single file line. The front person starts with a ball in their hand and then passes it over their head to the next friend. They keep passing until they don't drop it any. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG! This was dang funny to watch. That ball was on heads because apparently some of them forgot we were playing the game and they were TOTALLY not watching for their turn. Some of them maybe forgot to PASS it and maybe THREW it a tiny bit and it crashed into people. This game took some SERIOUS PRACTICE before they "got it". Once they did, they got good enough that we added a 2nd ball and they had to make sure the 2 balls never caught up to each other.
ALL in ALL...really a great lesson to teach cooperation. This can be a tough skill for littles to learn because, well let's face it, they are like Burger King "They want it their way!". It's hard for them to always look outside of themselves and see the needs of others. But alas, it was so AMAZING to watch their little hearts grow "2 sizes that day!". Our little class community is bonding day by day and I don't think it will be long before we ARE holding hands, skipping, and singing Kumbaya! Can I get an "AMEN!"
OK so maybe not ALL THAT, but we are finding our "happy place" little by little! It will all come together!
Here's hoping you can use some of these great lessons on COOPERATION with your own littles!