Monday, September 28, 2015

A Metaphor for Relationships

During morning experiences, a group of students picked up the hula hoop and played a game they learned during PE. The game was initiated and sustained by the children. As one child left the game to head toward a new experience, another child would join into the game and be assimilated. I stood and watched the ease in which the game proceeded. 

Children are always seeking connection to each other. Even children who may need quiet time to refuel desire connection to peers and their community. Often the behaviors that we see or the strong feelings expressed by children occur when  they feel disconnected from friends or the community.
 We use an image of a string connecting children, teachers and the community together. All relationships encounter hurt feelings, misunderstandings or even fatigue.

" You cut my string when you  made that face at me."

Mistakes launch learning. Problems are opportunities for discussion and growth. We capitalize on these moments and ask children to consider how to reconnect strings that have been cut.

Eve's sketch captures the image of the string connecting two friends. The knots imply that the string has been cut and reconnected several times.  We experience many feelings while relating to others.

 We create a web of connections when we are a part of a community. Our strings cross and often become entangled. If too many strings in a community are cut it becomes difficult to move forward and maintain stability. A thriving community takes care of the strings,securing the string and repairing it when it is frayed.


Children may on occasion require scaffolding from the adults to navigate their social lives BUT support should be provided with the intention to build resiliency not to save the children from hurt or frustration. I find this easier to offer my students than my own children.  

"If you don't play with me now I will not invite you to my birthday party." The child wants a playmate but is not finding success. She tries on a strategy she has witnessed. This may be a moment to scaffold  using inquiry.

Who would you like to play with and what would you like to do with that person?

Lets brainstorm some possible ways to achieve this.

Role play the scene and create a social story or comic strip.

Role play the obstacles that might occur.

Most importantly always keep it  humorous.

 The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends Cover               

Each year we read a book with the class and offer a time in the Spring to discuss the book.These are a few book suggestions but please offer your book preference. This reading is a starting place for discussion and problem solving for all of us. Just as our children rely on connection we like to feel solidarity as parents or at the very least.........

                                                                 enjoy a good laugh.


  1. Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments with us!

  2. There is nothing more important to the children's day - or more crucial to their learning - than the relationships they build - and rebuild and renegotiate - at school. I am so glad that this is something our kindergarten community attends to with both vigilance and joy.