Sunday, August 29, 2010

Being Safe Part Two

In an earlier post, I talked about safety as being the first “Rule” of my classroom.

I tend to think first in terms of physical safety, and I discussed that on Tuesday August 17 post entitled “Be Safe.”

Today I want to talk briefly about a second dimension of safety, social safety.

Social safety, at least in my kindergarten, needs attention particularly among the girls simply because five year-old girls tend to be more mature and sophisticated socially than boys.

Boys in conflict tend to ruffle each other’s physical safety. Girls in conflict tend to ruffle each other’s social safety.

I’m sure other early childhood educators hear complaints like, “Teacher, Marcy said she won’t be my friend.”

I see both physical and social ruffles as violations of my primary goal of safety.

When I become aware of a “Marcy won’t be my friend” complaint I treat it with about the same urgency as, say, a punch.

That is to say, when a girl shuns a classmate it deserves my immediate attention and response.

I teach that we are a classroom community. Everyone (except the houseflies) is entitled to feel safe in my classroom all the students—even the bugs.

Our circle of friends includes everyone.

In a future post, I’ll talk about the final dimension of safety, psychological safety.

For my earlier post on this subject, click Being Safe Part One.


Barbra Stephens said...

Dan! This is excellent. I love the safe classroom culture you are have been instilling. It definitely reaps rewards and benefits. Young children do need us to teach social intelligence. I have been finding studies that having social intelligence is just as or more so needful in society today!

Dan Gurney said...

Yes, and social intelligence is probably more important for getting and keeping jobs and advancing in careers than other forms of intelligence. So, even though the test scores will never show it, we MUST teach social intelligence as well as many other untestable skills.

How I wish I could do away with standardized testing of children under 12 or so!