From Early Years, Lumiar students are invited to make agreements, always aiming the well-being of all. Instead of simply communicating a rule, the idea is that decisions involve student’s participation, no matter how small they may be. If the rule comes done, the agreement is built collectively, which makes each one also feel responsible for enforcing it. When a child is invited to participate in the discussion, their autonomy is promoted.
“In early childhood education, it is very important that we talk about things they deal with at school. For example, the use of toys in the park ”, says Liss M. Mineiro, tutor of kindergarten at Lumiar Santo Antônio do Pinhal. Everything is done based on questions for the students themselves, respecting the principles of participatory management. “We asked the children which toys we can use outside and which ones should be inside the space. According to the answer, we ask why,” he explains.
The concept of agreements, which may have to do with any daily activity, also shows how much more motivated the student is to follow a rule when he or she participated in the decision. If the school only advises that cutlery should be placed under the sideboard after meals, many children may want to circumvent the order. However, if the decision was taken after a collective reflection on the importance of collaborating with the cleaning team, the act will not be understood as an imposition, but naturally incorporated into daily life.
From then on, these agreements should be revisited periodically so that children learn to evaluate what is working or not. They may have the chance of revoke a deal and put another one in place.
It is important to keep in mind that giving students voice is actually considering their opinion on the topics. Even when they are still very small. At Lumiar Santo Antônio do Pinhal, for example, the I3 class – which brings together 4 and 5 year olds – no longer wanted to participate in Roda (our weekly meeting with the participation of all students). The reason was simple: they found it very tiring to sit for an hour.
After listening to the petition, Liss explained to them that if they did not want to participate in Roda, important decisions could be made and they could not interfere. Even so, the complaints continued. “So the students suggested making a Roda with the principal and we had an extraordinary meeting where they could explain how tired they were,” Liss recalls.
During the conversation, a student made a suggestion: “Why don’t we do two Rodas with half the time instead of one of 50 minutes?” The child took this agenda to the meeting with all the students – and everyone liked the idea. A 5-year-old’s suggestion changed the dynamics of the school and created a new combination.
Over and over, some arrangements end up not being met. In this case, there is a general combination that goes from child to F3: remember and alert the friend. “They will help each other out. One child can warn the other that the toy needs to be stored in the right place, ”recalls Liss.
If it doesn’t work, an adult can be called upon to help – always with a purposeful approach. After all, in addition to punishment, the combined must focus on negotiation strategies, encouraging the building of convictions about interpersonal relationships.
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