Well, Sweeter, It gets better!
|Here the children are being silly by being |
exaggeratedly still and quiet at a church service (!).
I was working with young children, some younger than 3. The oldest was four when we started. I had more girls than boys, and small numbers. All the children were generally well-behaved and inclined to do what they were told. That said, they spent a LOT of time exploring the boundaries of what was accepted in our classroom.
- I am very glad to have made it clear from the start that we walk more slowly than usual in this space. I tried to remember to praise children who did that, and to remind (rather than reprimand) children who didn't. So that was a rule that never really got tested.
- It helped immensely when I found a song for getting ready on the My Montessori Journey blog. My own adaptation of the words (to the tune of "Frère Jacques") was Legs criss-crossed, Legs criss-crossed, Hands on your knees, Hands on your knees. Quiet on the inside, Quiet on the inside, Ready for the lesson, Ready for the lesson. At the line, Quiet on the inside, the song gets (and stays) quieter, so that if we sing it a second time we end up whispering the second half of it.
|photo by see-through-faith|
- Every time I've told a Godly Play story for children, at least one adult has commented on how well the children paid attention. So sometimes it might be worth getting started even if not everyone is, strictly speaking, "ready". Particularly if you're telling a desert story, moving the sands around as you begin the story can be mesmerising.
This post is at risk of rambling on and on. So for now I'll just make two more points.
- Something else that Berryman says is that it's ok if you spend your whole session just on forming the circle. Sometimes it is a circus. Sometimes what the children seem to need is just some time together, getting attention, being treated as though they are important and valued, and forming a tiny community together. And that brings me to my second point.
- I always found something that I was pleased about in every session. Having debriefing sessions with see-through-faith (my faithful adult helper) allowed me to get another perspective on things but even before that I was always thankful for some little breakthrough or insight, some piece of work a child had done, some touching thing a child had shared... And when I think now about what our Junior Church achieved, the biggest thing is that I became friends with these children. They are always glad to see me at church, and often want to tell me their news. They know that they are important to me, and they know that they belong.