Friday, April 18, 2014

Whole IA Student Meeting


On Thursday, April 17 the entire IA community, many staff included, had an advising meeting before lunch to discuss break/recess norms. 

We value our JCOS community so much.  Many adults in the community have noticed that there have been some playground behaviors that don't help BUILD community.  Games that are "us against them" or "tricks" that are played on others that can be painful are NOT acceptable for our community.  Students are excluding others and being mean-hearted when it comes to community.

During our meeting many students raised their hands to show they, too, have noticed that our community is sometimes at odds.

What can students do to help build community?

Stop playing in exclusive groups and play with people that are not in your closest peer groups. 

Positive problem solving without the help of a para educator. Be gentle and calm when you are saying something difficult to hear.  

Invite and play with students who are not joining in and who need someone to play with. Make sure they are having fun and understand the rules, too.

Work on problem solving at the time- don't wait until the bell rings- and DON'T hold grudges.  Use an adult or a mediator to help problem solve.  It is okay to expand your social group so friends who are fighting can get a break from each other. 

Don't physically grab, force, or block students choices.  

Reassess the goals of a game so they are less competitive and more collaborative. If there is a competitive game make sure the rules are clear and clarified at the beginning of the game and all students need to follow the rules.

If you feel yourself getting "wound up" during a competitive game, play with the positive spirit of the game and remember we are here to HAVE FUN.  If the game can't stay fun it shouldn't be played by certain individuals or whole groups, depending. Trouble shoot, problem solve, and discuss before abandoning a game.

Perhaps some games need to be simplified so new people can learn to play.

As an IA community we need to make sure other people feel safe.  Even our littlest preschoolers and kindergarteners might need gentle reminders to keep their hands to themselves and to follow group norms.  Even if we are not playing directly with the younger kids they are looking to us as role models and learning from our interactions and our language.  

Avoid the little cars and that area so the preschoolers are safe and don't need to keep a constant eye out for bigger kids.

We know many boys feel the need to be physical.  Organized sports  (flag football, races, obstical courses) are a great way to meet that need.  Roughhousing and play fighting are NEVER allowed at school.

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