Sunday, June 7, 2009
Update on "Time out"
I was much influenced by the fantastic comments on my last post and we made some changes in our room. We dismantled the notion of time out and in it's place created "The Quiet Place". I love the mystery the name evokes, even if it does sound a tad creepy. In the only available space that was actually quiet, we set up a rug and rocking chair facing the lovely greenery out of the lunch room windows. I gave a grace and courtesy lesson about "the quiet place" inviting anyone, at any time to use it for as long as they need to. I emphasized "This is a good place to be if you are feeling sad, angry, or tired."
The first days, it was frequented often by many different children. I noticed that some of the children that have a tendency to wander/disturb others, spent time rocking in the chair. When a child was getting noticeably frustrated and clearly on a road to no good, I noticed "I can see that you are getting frustrated, do you remember where is a good place to go to when you are feeling like that?"
This new area has given us the opportunity to invite children that need a little time away from the group a place to go to on their own with no shame. Since children choose to be there independently of an invitation, they don't feel like they are being punished.
Aside from this new addition to our room, our extra social responsibilities for those who need them the most have been working very well. The child who has trouble sharing the water pitcher at the snack table, for example, often gets invited to serve water to all the children outside at the end of the day.
(Thank you so much to the people who shared their valuable experience and ideas in the last comments.)