Primary 3-5: What about Socialization?
I selected this article because my primary interest is with young children. Though this article is for children who are older than 8 years of age, which is above the age limit for early childhood, I have found through the years that if I stay updated with research and challenges regarding older children then I am able to realize what they are missing or gaining from the young years. There are currently several trends that are being recognized in Middle and High School. One of them being students challenges regarding socializing in an appropriate manner with others, not just their peers.
This article focused on the theory created by Maria Montessori. This theory focuses on having the teacher being skilled at helping children to explore the environment, guiding children to make intellectual choices that will benefit both the child and culture, and to carry out different scientific explorations of trial and error with the goal of the children trying out new ways to explore and learn each time. Many of the materials are self correcting and children can choose to work independently or in groups. The teacher is more of a guide than a holder of the information. This encourages peer to peer relationships, thus building on socialization. Play is key. Though this article does not deeply talk about games it is the socialization that I find important to recognize because it is a key ingredient in games.
Montessori focuses on both understanding and respecting rules which is key to successful game play. Players need to respect the rules that others are following. Then as a group they change the game they need to continually show each other respect and abide by those rules. When this does not happen then there is a learning opportunity in the area of socialization. The diversity of game play opportunities within the classroom allows children to learn to socialize on a variety of levels and begin to internalize their understanding. Example: When playing a game if a person does not say anything but starts to glare at another person the child understands that without words the other person is communicating how they feel which is very important to recognize. Like what professional gamer’s call ‘tells’.
Materials in the Montessori classroom tend to be traditional without digital materials. Though some of the newer classrooms have digital technology. The focus of the classroom is on community with the general belief that digital technology can quickly become a solo activity. Teachers can observe these interactions and then begin to understand the needs of the child. If a child is new to the classroom and struggling to connect different activities/games can be introduced where the children interact in a positive manner. This type of inclusion helps the child to socialize in a positive manner which will then lead to more positive interactions outside of the game.
The games that are played in the classroom are varied but in general are constrained because each one has a specific learning goal in mind. This article did not talk about specific games but instead about the socialization of children and the importance of adults being able to step back and observe the learning that is going on. Too many times teacher feel the need to jump in to guide or remind students of the rules. Game play allows for children to self monitor as well as create new and diverse ways to explore or create a game. By allowing this process to happen without interference then children are learning a variety of different social skills that will benefit them as they continue to move through life.
Resource: Bourne, L. Retrieved on Feb 17, 2016. http://www.blog.montessoriforeveryone.com/primary-3-6-what-about-socialization.html