Friday, March 5, 2010

Facing Your Feelings.

Feelings is one of those things that there is just no way getting around of. Everybody has them and whether good or bad, we all must learn to face them. For a Kindergartner, learning how to both process and respond to feelings, as well as deal with them appropriately becomes an especially difficult task, yet a vital part of their personal and social development.

It is my goal for the Kindergartners whom I have a large influence over, to be put in a secure enough environment where they know they can express their feelings freely without feeling put down. I want them to understand that everyone has feelings of sadness or even anger and that by expressing them we can together solve them appropriately.

During our first week of my newly implemented Team Time or class meetings, they were given an opportunity to express their feelings with the complete attention of their peers. I brought out my feelings faces chart, and as each of them held our Talking Monkey, they were able to share their I-statements in a safe environment.

Our structure for the I-statements goes something like:
“I feel____, because _____, and I wish _____."

When these tender sprouts would share with us a feeling in which they felt earlier, I noticed them starting to grasp empathy and how their actions truly affect others. Some of the feelings shared were expected, yet others came as a complete surprise. It was a unique discovery to see that the more outgoing ones in the class had already let everyone know how they felt, whereas the more reserved ones didn't feel bold enough until the Talking Monkey was in hand to express their feelings. That physical stuffed animal gave them a sense of ownership and allowed them to immediately have the respect of others as we listened intently.

It is delightful to find my sprouts learning how to cooperate and listen to each other in ways that they haven't before. It is obvious that an awareness of others is especially starting to take place, and resulting in a much more enjoyable classroom.

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