Helping or Hindering

An out loud reflection:

We give the kids words as tools.  Then we teach them how to appropriately use those tools to be successful in communication.  This isn't just a preschool tool, it's a lifelong tool.  I firmly believe I am helping my students to be successful in life simply by guiding their social development here at preschool.  That being said, I recently observed a scenario that made me second guess how often I am coaching the kids to use their words.

First I observed this exchange:

"Can I play with you?"
"Okay.  Can I have a turn when you are done?"

Sounds great doesn't it!  I love when the kids use their words and it works!

Here's what happened next:

A different child walks up to the same group and just starts playing.  No questions asked and he is immediately accepted into the group and part of their game.

I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing that if that child had asked to play, the answer would have been, "No!"

Both kids are building social skills.  Is one more successful than the other?  More developed socially?  What about future social skills?

Both kids are doing what has been working for them.  Maybe this is just a question of development and age appropriateness.  I know teaching them to ask as a way to engage in play will benefit them in the long run.  I also know that learning to acknowledge and respect the boundaries of others will come in handy in so many other ways.  But, maybe just that once, I wish the first child didn't use their words.

The lesson for me is that I need to teach a balance of jumping in with both feet and proceeding with caution.  The best way for them to learn is to just try it out.  I will be here when/if they need me.



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