5/28/2008

On observation and question

I made an interesting observation this morning while outside with a classroom, let me explain:

I have two different funding sources at one center; neither of these funding sources can share space at the same time so we rotate outdoor time accordingly. In both contracts 3 and 4 year olds share the yard; and the 4 year old children are great at teaching the younger children tricks (both good and bad).

In one group (let's call it group 1) all the children at some point has mastered the ability to hang upside down from the monkey bars and get very skillful at maneuvering them: swinging from, sitting on, hanging from, and other various tricks. This began last year about this time when the children who were getting ready to go to kindergarten began exploring this way. This years pre-k class quickly picked it up. About 9-10 months ago the three year old class quickly caught on. After all, if you want to play with the big kids, you gotta play like the big kids. Group 1 now has a new child (just turned 3) who will be staying in the 3 year old class next year when the rest of the 2's class moves up. Today, she was able to swing her legs up to the bar, but not quite confident in letting go just yet. I say give her a week.

In group 2, the children have never experienced how the other children play. I was interested when two of the older (and more athletic) of the group went to the monkey bars this morning and couldn't accomplish this task. Try as they might, they couldn't even get their legs up to the bars. After 45 minutes, one child was able to figure out how to "walk" up the pole with her legs to get them up, but couldn't do it without this aide.

It got me thinking about how the center dynamics and "traditions" evolve. I had a child who started spinning out of circle one day. She would stand up and twirl her way to the next activity. It did no harm, so I didn't stop her. After a week, a few more children began spinning out of circle. By the end of the month most, if not all, of the children picked up this habit. For two years after, even after this child had graduated and moved on, the children were still spinning out of circle. It was passed down from one year to the next; completely encouraged by me or the other teachers in the classroom. I left and I have no idea if the children still do this; but I am guessing that the new teacher was very confused by this behavior.

So, what odd traditions have you had passed from one year to the next? Or, has there been a skill that the younger ones have had because of the older influence?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We had a child accidently exclaim "Pass on the milk" instead of pass the milk. Well, the class thought that it was hilarious and it went on every meal. After a year, then class was still saying it and, because some had brought it home, the children in the younger classrooms had picked it up. Soon, the entire center was using this phrase.

Alana said...

We had a child who could ride a two wheeler and had for so long he really couldn't ride a trike anymore. We allowed him to bring a two wheeler if he would share it with his friends if they wanted (mom bought a new one for the center). After a month, almost the entire class could ride a two wheeler. By the end of 6 months, half of our three year old could as well! It's been 4 years now and, every year, all the 4's and most of the 3's have accomplished this skill