In one of our final Inquiry group sessions for the year we were asked to share a learning problem with our group in order to collaboratively brainstorm some possible solutions ... so what was my big question that I posed?
What else could I do to help our tamariki to move from the saying or parroting ‘The Pt England Way’ in to an actual shift in their behaviour or responses at critical times? When our kids get in to those times when they get angry and their built in reaction or default all too often seems to be to lash out or respond physically.
The initial reaction from the group was one of ... silence, then ... good luck with that! However we persisted with this as a talking point and the following were a couple of suggestions from the group.
Talk to them differently ... it was suggested that rather than ask the why? ... talk about what and get them to make connections between their own behaviour and the reaction of others ... I totally agree and generally this is what is done in our times of reflection or rethinking, discussing and getting kids to own their actions.
The second suggestion was having an agreed plan or strategy for particular kids for those situations or times when they recognise they need space or time out ...ie. they are given permission to leave their classroom...run ... retire to an agreed space ... tailored to their needs and pre-negotiated for those tough times.
What I have learnt to date (none of it is rocket science I know) ... many of our kids need time to unwind and often need to be distracted or simply left for a time before they can articulate what went wrong.
Physically helping them to relax... tone and proximity all matter..
Relationships are key, and it takes a village ... often means that someone else is the best person or expert on a child. We need to continue to foster and potentially formalise the notion of a significant other for our high need kids.
Whanau need to be involved in this process sooner than later ...
A check in system or daily report is a valuable tool but can’t rely on only one person. We need a better tracking visual for this.
Ownership of their actions is key - frequently our tamariki want to tell or report everyone else’s involvement in an incident rather than taking responsibility for their own contribution.
And finally I continue to wonder ... are we setting them up for success in the next step of their educational journey???