My Shopping Cart and Stroller Anxiety

It took me a while to find the courage to add those two little red shopping carts into the classroom.  I was very nervous about it, and also nervous about bringing in the pretend strollers. 


I imagined myself with  just two shopping carts in the room, having to mediate conflict after conflict, settling turn-taking battles, dealing with crying children not getting turns, the noise of kids running with the shopping carts, the messes in every area of the room as kids collected massive quantities of toys and left them everywhere.  Why would I want that in my classroom?  It was like asking for chaos.  I reasoned with myself, they have those plastic ones outside, they don't need them inside, too.

But we were, after all, in our Grocery Theme.  I needed to at least give it a try.

Sometimes, being a teacher involves acknowledging the areas that hold us back from really being of service to the children.  It can be uncomfortable, but we walk through it.  And I was ready.  Ready to take on the carts.  I placed them quietly into the grocery store area of the classroom, and waited...

Well, I guess I had forgotten that, after all, I was not bringing these shopping carts into an ordinary group of kids.  This is a Beansprouts classroom, where children have learned how to wait for turns, and ask for turns, and negotiate order amongst themselves with light guidance.

To my surprise, the shopping carts became a harmonious tool for kids to play together, and have conversations, and discuss and plan their shopping adventures.  Adding the cashier's counter gave them yet another venue for practicing their social skills.

 R writing a receipt

It was amazing.

And to my surprise, the next day I was actually excited to bring in the strollers!

This morning I was happy to read this post at leaves, branches, trunks, and roots.  The dumping phenomenon is actually a universal (I have seen this over the years), as are many things about preschool behavior.  But the Beansprouts didn't dump, they "unloaded" their groceries onto other nearly empty shelves in the classroom.  They very willingly carted the groceries back to the grocery store at cleanup time. 

And now, our Grocery Theme is over and I'm not ready to take the shopping carts out of the room!


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