Monday, April 12, 2010

Conflict Resolution Techniques in Early Childhood Education

 "Example is the school of mankind, 
and they will learn at no other."
~Edmund Burke

I sat on the floor in the Block Area when two preschoolers began to argue over the amount of blocks they had. I moved in closer and listened in. Here is how they resolved their issues though conflict resolution techniques. This is how the conversation went.
“What do you mean all these (blocks) are yours?”
“But I had some, too!”
“Gimme a break! Is that all you can say?”
The preschooler saying, “mine!” grabbed the rest of the blocks and proceeded to sit on them. It must have been rather uncomfortable by the look in his face. I could see the tension building so I offered a suggestion.
“How do you think we can solve this problem?” I asked.
“Let’s get Jessica and ask her.” The children chirped after seeing her walk by.
Jessica is fairly quite and unassuming but a child that is well liked and straight to the point. We let Jessica know what happened and by this time a small interested crowd gathered around one blockless child and a child perched a-top a small pile of wood blocks.
“So let’s get this straight,” Jessica reiterated the problem with her hands on her hips, "you want some of the ‘blockies’.”
“Yeah.” The first child said patiently.
“Okay,”she makes a mental note. “But you want all the ‘blockies’.”
“Yep.” The second child shifted on the block pile (I think he was getting tired).
Jessica shook her head. “But you can’t have everything ‘cause there is no place to put everything. My mommy even told me that.”
The crowd nodded their heads in agreement and the child got off the block pile.
Thanks Jessica, I’ll remember that one, too.


Jenni said...

That's awesome! Now if we can get her to teach the rest of the world that!

Barbra The Bloggess said...

I was thinking the same thing, Jenni.

Theresa Milstein said...

You handled that wonderfully! Give them the tools to figure out how to solve a problem and they usually do. Recently, I subbed a class with a peace corner. It worked wonders.

Barbra The Bloggess said...

How sweet that sounds. A 'Peace Corner'. At UCLA we had "Talking Chairs". The room was so big that by the time we all walked over their the children forgot what they argued about. I decided not to use them with such young children because they never felt a sense of completion to their conflicts. Amazing how much kids can do with the right tools isn't it, Theresa!

VKT said...

What a great example of conflict resolution!!! Bravo!

Dan Gurney said...

Kids can come up with some good ideas.

In a situation like that, I'll often ask the kid sitting on the blocks if he's happy. (He isn't, even if he says he is.)

Then, after I have his attention, I say to blockboy,

"I want to you be happy. To be happy, it's good to have lots of friends. Do you want lots of friends or lots of blocks?" (He might not answer this question. So I'm ready to go on.)

People who share have friends. People like people who share. People don't like selfish people."

If he doesn't share them still, I invite the blockless kid to do something fun, and we leave Mr. Block sitter to play his blocks.

This sort of lesson doesn't need to be taught many times before sharing happens.

The other thing I do is to remove any playthings that prove too difficult to share. Very effective, if explained thoroughly, and then the materials are returned after a time.