Another visit to Early Years has left me feeling convinced that our children are in very safe hands, and that’s in spite of the fact that one of the children looked at me very wisely and said, “You’re old!” Using my great age as an excuse, I thought I’d get out of running round the playground and explained that “I can’t run,” at which my hands were firmly grasped by children and I was dragged off with encouraging comments of, “Look what we’re doing,” and “Copy us,” followed by encouraging comments of, “You see you can!” Clearly”I can’t,” isn’t accepted as an excuse for not trying!
Perhaps the highlight of my morning was found in a discussion group. The children were asked to sit in a circle, not in their usual places but next to someone they had not previously sat near or played with. After encouragement and some gentle challenging, the children were asked to decide whether it had been a hard or easy thing to do. There was no right or wrong answer to this question and the children were encouraged to explore their feelings and then justify their responses by explaining why it was hard or easy.
This was followed by a discussion on what they would do if a friend at the park wanted to go and play on the swings when they wanted to play on the slide, leaving them on their own. They were asked to consider whether they would accompany the friend or remain on their own. Again it was emphasised that there was no right or wrong answer, and children were encouraged to explain their decision.
I felt this was an enormously valuable learning opportunity for the children. They were faced with the unusual situation, in school, of there being no ‘correct’ answer. They were also encouraged to justify their choices and listen to the different decisions made by others.