Guest Blog: Chris Dunn @ShrekTheTeacher
We’ve been learning about ‘People who help us’ this week, including Police Officers and Traffic Wardens. I took the opportunity to link one of my classes favourite activities, riding the trikes, to one of the stranger learning steps in Development Matters. The learning step to which I am referring comes under the heading of Physical Development, and is simply ‘Are able to stop’.
There’s no explanation as to which physical attribute it is that they are supposed to be able to stop, so I have assumed that it means stopping everything, at once, on request. Rather like what you’re supposed to do when a Police Officer says stop.
The activity went very well. Lots of racing around of trikes, plenty of children dressed as Police Officers and a few Traffic Wardens. I donned a Police hat and modelled how to command a speeding trike to stop. The children soon got the hang of it, and I was able to stand back and observe who was able to stop. I even tried a few loud shouts of ‘Everyone STOP!’…very revealing, some children have very little awareness of what’s going on beyond their immediate personal space.
With a little practice most got the hang of it, and the inevitable ‘ignoring the law’ type behaviour started to kick in…very amusing from a distance, and fascinating to see how the children dealt with conflict. I often view my Nursery class as a micro-model of society and human behaviour. The dynamics are very honest and bare, without the web of ‘pretence’ and ‘sophistication’ that you have to wade through to try and understand adult behaviour!
When I checked that one very bright girl could stop, she did so, but asked ‘why?’ I responded in role…
‘Because I am a Police Officer, and I want you too.’ She trundled off with a slightly puzzled look.
All seemed well until I was a few pages into a story at the end of the day. Admittedly I wasn’t exactly putting my heart and soul into it, but I was somewhat surprised to hear a shout…
‘STOP!’ It was the bright girl.
‘Excuse me young lady, what’s the problem?’
‘I want you to stop.’
‘Because it’s boring actually.’
Seems I should have explained rather more about what a Police Officer is, and the difference between the law and normal social behaviour. After making a mental note to adjust next week’s planning, I asked the whole class if they wanted me to stop. They mostly did, and they went back to their own activities…
‘power to the people’…’democracy in action’…’speak up and change the world’…
I like to think they are developing an understanding of how societies work that will give them confidence to influence the world when they are older…
Here are some other funny stories from my time as a Nursery teacher;