day. In general, that’s not very safe. Often times, children
stationed at the top of the slide will proceed regardless of the friend making
their way towards them, knocking the feet out from under the climber and…well,
you can imagine the entanglement that leads to lots of tears and boo boos.
When the four year old was asked to use the ladder and slide DOWN the slide instead, he said that he didn't know how. On our jungle gym, there are two ladders that access the slide: one, a column of wooden slates; the other, a mesh of tires. I had a few of the kids show him how to maneuver the wooden slatted-side, but he tried it and said he couldn't do it. I suggested instead that he watch someone going up the tire-side and he was again hesitant.
Determined to see this kid "play well with others" I asked him if he would climb up the tire-side with me. He agreed. We worked our way up the web of tires, as I showed him the good spots to place his feet. However, at the top I realized he was a bit scared so I sat him in front of me on the slide and he happily went down. I slid down behind him and was applauded by a parent in the carpool lane. I also saw giggling teachers taking pictures of me. For a moment I was embarrassed and felt a bit inappropriate…I was, after all, at work and should be watching over the kids, not playing with them. Luckily, I also remembered that it is my job to be their teacher.
Carolyne Britt is an assistant and Art Teacher at LifeSong Montessori and she plays well with others.