Tuesday, June 28, 2011

B is for Breakthrough

Back in September when I first met my little cherubs I knew I had a special bunch. Special in so many ways, but what stood out the most was the young-ness of them. So many of them with birthdays in June, July and August, and so many of THEM were boys.
Most kindergarten teachers know that young boys need some wiggle room, understanding, patience and often times a little guidance about the social comings and goings of a busy kindergarten classroom.

I am a mom of boys so I understand how those little-boy minds tick. I know how they roll. They need space to move and activities to keep them engaged but most of all they need to be allowed to be all the wonderful things they are!

The little boys in my room this year were wonderful little creatures. Smart, funny and all boy. For the most part there were no big behavior issues in my classroom this year, but two little boys in particular needed just a little more guidance to navigate through their kindergarten year.

For Charlie, it became clear fairly early on that he would not make friends easily. I believe now that it was just fear and simply not knowing how to go about the business of making a new friend. He played by himself often, and in some cases turned people away by either saying unkind things or just moving away to be by himself again.
For Harry, personal space was the issue. This little guy does not have a mean bone in his body. He's sweet, funny and so easy to please. He feels badly when he makes a mistake and truly wants to be the best kid he can be. Sometimes he just forgets that everyone does not want a hug at the same moment that he does.

I thought from the start that these two would make a great little pair of friends, but despite all my trying to match them up, it just didn't click and that's okay too. You can't force a friendship.

I worked on social issues with these two every day we were together from the very first until today and most likely will during our last three hours together tomorrow. I just won't give up on my job of turning them into the kind of people they should be. Kind, friendly, forgiving, understanding and comfortable socially.

Today after snack time, I let them play for a bit. I didn't put any limitations on their play, letting them choose what they wanted to do and who they wanted to play with.
As they played I sat and chatted with Christine our adjustment counselor while the kids played. Christine, who in my opinion has rock star status, has also spent some time with these two and knows the struggles that they've both had.

One of Harry's favorite games is Hi-Ho-Cherry-O, the board game with a spinner and the little red plastic cherries. David grabbed it and asked if we wanted to play.
Christine in her sweet knowing way, told him that she and I were talking but she was sure he could find a friend that would love to play.
His eyes went right to Charlie and in his little voice said, "Charlie, will you play this game with me?"
I think I cringed when he said it, afraid of the response Charlie would give him, but then I heard, "Okay."
I know that little "okay." was not easy for Charlie, but he said it!

They sat down together and played, not only played but played nicely.
I looked at Christine and said, "They can drive you crazy, but it's moments like that..." I couldn't finish my sentence because I was tearing up.

It took 177 days...but it was worth every one of them.


Elisa LaSota said...

I promise to keep good care of your gifts next year!
Each year brings so many beautiful treasures each
waiting for another chance to reach for the stars!
...Oh, do I understand the tears too!....

Elisa :)

Mrs. Krouskop-Smith said...

Thank you for sharing this story. It's moments like these that remind us why we do what we do, huh?

Kristen said...

I could have written the beginning of this post myself! It really is moments like that...=)