My 7-year-old daughter S. started school this year. We live in a small village and a week ago, while playing in the playground, a few parents were talking about problems in the kindergarten my daughter used to go to until last summer.
Apparently, a few of the “older” kids are being very aggressive towards the younger children, hitting them and pushing them around. Some of the younger children do not want to go there anymore, so some of them are home for a while. The parents also mentioned that the teacher ignores the problem and refuses to get the help (or even a “Lets think together”) offered by the parents, because she is scared for the kindergarten’s reputation.
Two days later when I woke S. in the morning to go to school, she jumped and sat straight and wide-awake in bed and said: “Remember the kindergarten discussion?” I had no idea what she was talking about. So she explained: “When so and so were talking about the pushing around in the kindergarten, and about M. (the teacher) who did not manage to stop it? Well, I had this idea, why not all of us graduates, H. and O. and E. and myself get organized and go to the kindergarten on Friday (no school on Friday, but the kindergarten does run) to help the kids that hit the young ones? We could simply remind them that it is not a good idea to push children around! We could organize other children to come too! Maybe A. (her older sister) would like to come. Isn’t it a good idea?”
I appreciated her for the initiative and leadership as well as for the brilliant idea, and she went to school. I thought that that was it. But she came back and asked me whether I had the chance to talk to the teacher about her “good idea”. I told her that I did not. The next day she asked again. I suggested that she talk to the teacher tomorrow. Instead she brought over the phone directory and asked me to find the teacher’s phone number.
She called, and once the answering machine got the call she left a message: “I would love to talk to you when you come back, because I have a very good idea”
Yesterday we went to the kindergarten together to talk to the teacher who was very excited about the idea. On Friday she is going to get a unique support team. Ever since S. offered her idea she has changed a bit. She takes charge of many small things during her daily routine. It is exciting to watch her.
I also appreciated her saying, “We will support the children who hit the others.” rather than just the “victims”. She definitely has a good perspective over what’s going on. It also feels like I must be doing something right.
– A Parenting by Connection parent in Israel
For more information on helping children with aggression read Hand in Hand founder Patty Wipfler’s article Biting, Pushing, Pulling Hair – Helping Children with Aggression.