Here is some food for thought as you are setting up your classroom. There are no calories involved, but perhaps you will find a lot to chew on!
From time immemorial there has been conflict amongst people. It is as much a part of living together as love and laughter. From personally to internationally, we must deal with conflict, and history shows that we have done so both successfully and unsuccessfully, heroically and horrifically.
One obvious aspect of conflict is words. Words can cause and resolve conflict. Giving young children a vocabulary that enables them to talk through conflicts is actually a gift to the future of the world!
Thomas Groome, professor of Pastoral Theology and Religious Education at Boston College, writes in his book, “Educating for Life: A Spiritual Vision for Every Teacher and Parent”, of the importance of words. He says it is “the responsibility of teachers and parents to take great care with their personal language because of its formative power on learners”.
A classroom, home or school can become a community — a place to learn of the dignity and equality of each person, a respect for society and a sense of stewardship of creation. When teachers and parents create such an environment, each child steps in the world with an appreciation for life that will affect the people they in turn encounter. And on it goes.
As you prepare for the upcoming school year, think about words and preschoolers: words for peace and words for all of life.
Words for peace:
Is your vocabulary generally positive, affirming of each child’s individuality?
Do you model politeness? Do you expect it in your classroom?
Do you model listening to both sides in a conflict and gently insist that children do, too?
Do you teach children how to compromise by teaching words that help them do so?
Do you compliment children who have and use these skills?
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