Kitchen Remodel: Helping Children Collaborate

Delivery Method: 

Three two year old girls are designing a house for their pretend play. Two of the girls, Audrey and Pixie, have different ideas about where to locate the kitchen. Audrey points to a large wooden chest and says, “Right there”. Pixie walks up to the section of house they have already built and says, “Leave it here”. Audrey counters by saying, “No, put it over here. The kitchen.” Notice how the teacher, Diane, works to help the children solve their problem. Rather than encourage the girls to explain or defend their opposing opinions, the teacher invites the children to collaborate by thinking about the overall design of their house. Diane says, “So Audrey, do you want to talk to Pixie about the size of your house? Because I’m noticing that you want the kitchen out there but Pixie wants everything to be inside of this small house. Do you want to talk to her about changing the house?” Audrey’s idea is to “change the house into a big one.” By reframing the children’s thinking within the context of their larger goal, Diane encourages the girls to decenter and consider the perspective of the other. The teacher recognizes the girl’s shared desire to play house as an opportunity to help them learn how to better negotiate with each other. As you continue to watch, identify what other strategies you notice the teacher using to facilitate communication among the children. Notice what features the children decide should be included in their kitchen. For example, Keira and Pixie revise their plan to build one wall by instead, using the large wooden cubes to build two walls. Observe how the teacher invites the children to pause and reflect on this change. She says, “Oh, look at this. Oh, this has changed over here (points), on the floor, these big blocks.” As all of the girls turn to look at the blocks the teacher learns that this impromptu change meets the approval of the group. Moreover, Pixie adds motive to the new floor plan by saying, “Oh, we need a bigger one down there, okay?” In what other ways do you notice the teacher helping the children to collaborate about their plans for the kitchen? Consider where you think she is most effective. Notice that the teacher decides to remain off to the side when she observes Pixie and Audrey actively exchanging ideas. She encourages Keira to join her peers by saying, “Keira, maybe you can help the girls because there seems to be a disagreement about things. Maybe you can help them make an agreement”. Watch and decide if you agree with the teacher’s decision to withdraw from the main action and allow the children to try working it out together.

Length of stand-alone master video clip: 11 minutes 58 secs

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Keywords: Twos, Children-Teacher, Teaching, Pretense, Communication, Negotiation, Co-construction, Blocks