Wednesday, 17 December 2008

conflict resolution

Yesterday there were a couple of moments with the children both at school and at childminding where I was stunned by how effective my conflict resolution techniques were. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with children knows that they are never as co-operative as you would like them to be, and that in the midst of an argument, the last thing they often want to do is to listen to you talking to them about how they should have dealt with the situation.

One of the things I have been learning more and more as a result of working in a nursery class of 3 and 4 year olds is that managing emotions is something that has to be taught. Children don't just know how they should respond when something has made them sad, or what they should say to the person who has made them sad is. That might sound simple, but it has been an amazing discovery.

So, back to the conflict resolution....I hate calling it that - it sounds rather clinical, when in reality what I am doing is what I described above - helping children to be loving towards one another in the way they interact. I spotted two girls fighting over a crocodile. It hadn't got to the screaming / crying / fisticuffs stage yet, but I could see it headed in that direction. So I went and said something a bit like this:

'Pip, why are you pulling the crocodile away from Lucy?'
Pip: 'Because I was playing with it first.'
Hannah: 'Well, it looks to me like Lucy would like to play with it too, and we share our toys at school, don't we?'
Pip: Nods.
Hannah: 'Lucy, if you wanted to play with the crododile and you could see that Pip was already playing with it, what do you think you could have said to her, instead of just trying to take it from her?'
Lucy: 'Please can I play with the crocodile?'
Hannah: 'Brilliant! And Pip, what could you say to Lucy if she asked you nicely like that?'
Pip: 'ok'
Hannah: 'So Lucy, do you want to say to Pip what you just said to me?'
Lucy: 'Please can I play with the crocodile?'
Pip: 'Ok, but just for a little while.'
And off they ran. It might sound like a very small thing, but it was a wonderful moment.

I've changed the names of the children involved to protect their identity.

Friday, 12 December 2008

words to treasure

Yesterday Grace & I had one of those precious moments that make working with children an even more wonderful thing. As she was cutting out red fondant icing letters for her cake for the Christmas competition and I was multi-tasking, making her macaroni cheese and helping with the cake, she said,

'Hannah I wish you could be our nanny forever because you do so many lovely things with us.'

To which I responded,

'I am sure that when you have a new nanny, she will do just as many lovely things with you.'

Grace: 'Nope. No-one will do as much lovely stuff as you.'

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

the kindness of strangers

Sometimes it feels like my memory does not serve me particularly well. On this occasion I am thinking with regard to Winter from one year to the next. I don't know about you, but we have had a whole lot of ice & frost here in Bristol over the last couple of weeks. I don't remember having so much before, and people are saying we haven't seen frosts like this in years. So anyway, the ice is a hazard. A big, dangerous hazard. Yesterday, I fell off my bike on the way to work. Twice. In the space of 15 minutes. And it hurt. And I cried like a school girl who's fallen over in the playground.

On both occassions, someone came running to see if I was alright. The first time, a neighbour (yes, that is right, I had been on my bike for two seconds after leaving my house before falling off) came running out in her pyjamas and a coat to see if I was ok. She heard my cries from inside her house! Yes, that is also right. I am not shy of sitting in the middle of the road, crying. Apparently the last time she fell off her bike, she nearly ended up in the docks, but was saved by a wheelie bin. Slightly more dramatic than my fall.

Needless to say, after falling off a second time, I turned up at work in a bit of a sorry state and rather bruised and sore. I got offered two cups of tea. Seriously, what is so good about this drink that, to me tastes like soil, that means that it is fit for every eventuality? I don't get it.

I was really thankful to those women who showed a little bit of compassion. There are a lot of people who wouldn't have bothered, and who would have been embarassed by my tears and sobbing.

Friday, 5 December 2008

bathed in light & colour

This photo does not even come near to doing the beauty of this sunset justice. I would have missed it, had I not popped outside to do the recycling at that moment. It was the most stunning sunset I have seen in a long while.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

birds flying high

deck the halls

So, Christmas fun is offically underfoot - there has been present buying, making & baking. I thoroughly enjoyed using my sewing machine over the weekend to make some Christmas cards and a few presents.

Here is the fabric layered up and ready to go. This pile is now somewhat depleated.

I would quite happily while away my days sewing all kinds of treats.

Yesterday Grace's school was closed, due to the heating being broken, so we spent the afternoon making these little decorations....

...and baking 'hard boiled biscuits.' Grace got a little muddled with the name - they're actually called stained glass biscuits - you use hard boiled sweets to give a stained glass effect, hence the confusion.

If ever you need a bit of stress relief while working with kids and happen to have some hard boiled sweets and a hammer to hand, they provide the perfect combination. (I wasn't actually in need of stress relief - the thought just occurred to me as I was bashing & smashing away, how it would be a good thing to do if ever in need of some time away from the kids without actually being able to get away from them - this would be the perfect remedy.)