I learnt something the other day. One of our students focus children has been increasingly labelled a problem child by staff because he loves to build tall towers and knock them down. This has been treated as out of control and overly boisterous behaviour. Why did it come to this?
Further investigation revealed that the childcare centre is a large room with a wooden floating floor. With nearly 20 kids in the room I can see why the educators want to jump on anyone that is going to raise the noise levels as it would only result in a highly stressed and noisy environment for everyone.
It is amazing to see hoe the young boy became the problem and not the environment he was in. Looking at an open plan room with a wooden floor you are going to get noise. Add to this by providing kiln dried timber blocks (highly resonate) and then ask the child to play quietly just beggars belief.
Some simple remedies.
- Place a high density foam mat under the play area
- Extend play into making blocks out of cardboard milk cartons stuffed with newspaper to reduce resonance.
- Leave the timber blocks outside to absorb some of the overnight moisture and reduce resonance.
It turns out that this boys father works in construction. The boy is not very verbal and gains immense pleasure from stacking, building and wrecking wooden block towers. When bizarrely the child was told to build quietly, he resorts to sneaking a knock down or laughing at the educators which is seen as disobedient. (a child after my own heart)
Let the child build and rebuild. If this is how the child processes stuff, then this is exactly what is needed. His construction activities have been keenly observed by other children and a small band is beginning to form. As educators, me must follow their interest without seeing the children as making trouble.
Written by Ujjval Goble, Early Childhood Trainer