Saturday, 26 April 2014

Cooperative Board Games

    Mermaid Island

I ordered these board games online recently. They are cooperative games by Peaceable Kingdom. The good thing about these games is that all the players work as one team to achieve a goal which I think is a very unique concept. Games like these build team spirit and cooperation among children.

You can find these games on Amazon or 
Are there any board games you would like to suggest/recommend for this post?  I look forward to hearing back from you.  

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Yesterday I took my daughter downstairs to play in my building’s garden. There were a few children whom my daughter plays with once in a while. As soon as they met, they started figuring out what to play. My daughter, like many other children, loves to make up her own games. She came up with a game that one of them will become an alligator and someone will have to carry the alligator on her back and help it cross the river and there would be obstacles on the way that they will have to overcome. A seven- year old instantly discarded her idea saying that it doesn’t make sense and that how can anyone carry an alligator on her back. It was rather heartbreaking to hear this comment and to see that this child has probably never been allowed to imagine. For the good of this child and my daughter, I had to intervene and tell her that this was imagination and one can have fun being imaginative. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Journal Writing

Maintaining a journal for your child is a simple and effective tool for early literacy development. You can start using it as soon as she starts holding a crayon and scribbling (as early as 1 and a half or 2 years of age). All you need is a plain notebook preferably A4 or A3 size. As she makes marks in the book, ask her what it is and write down the words or sentences next to the drawings. (Don’t restrict her to the thick crayons. Let her explore drawing with markers, pencils, pens, coloured pencils etc.) You will see how her ideas progress from words to sentences to stories. 

Seeing you write, will motivate her to attempt writing down the words herself with scribbles or letters. Depending on her age, phonemic awareness (awareness that words can be broken down into sounds) and phonic skills (ability to associate sounds with letters of the alphabet) she will write the words with initial, medial and ending sounds (developmental/ phonetic/ invented spellings). For example initially she might write just the letter ‘a’ to say apple, then ‘al’, then apl and so on. Please remember not to criticize her drawings, stories or her spellings. Just accept and support no matter how silly they are. It’s the start of big ideas!

The journal should be used as a motivation and confidence building tool for literacy development and not for attaining perfection in handwriting or spellings, although good handwriting and spellings would be the byproducts of it. Apart from enhancing reading and writing skills, journal writing is also great for promoting fine motor skills and vocabulary development.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Conflict Resolution contd...

Situation 1 Constructivist way of dealing with this conflict

  • Don’t interfere in the beginning.
  • If it reaches a point that the children begin to physically battle for the piece, immediately interfere.
  • Maintain your calm and don’t show any anxiety.
  • Begin questioning both G and D. Help them develop a shared focus of attention so that all the parties know what problem they would be discussing about.
  • Comfort G who is crying uncontrollably.
  • Ask questions like ‘What happened?’, ‘Who was playing first?’, and ‘Who broke the piece?’ Make sure you hear both sides of story.
  • Hopefully and most probably D will admit that he broke the piece.
  •  You can say, ‘D, G is feeling really sad right now and he is crying, what can we do to make him feel better?’ and ‘What can we do to solve this problem?’
  • You can ‘suggest’ that they need to do something to fix the broken piece.
  • In this way you validate the emotional feelings involved in the situation.
  • Hopefully G will come up with ideas like taping it up or you can suggest.
  • Help D tape up the two pieces.
  • Then ‘casually’ tell them that if a situation like this arise in future, it is best to wait turns or use words to negotiate how the game has to be played and if you can’t come to an agreement you can get an adult.

Situation 1 Analysis

  • The process here is: 1.Identification of conflict 2.Comforting the hurt child 3.Working towards its solution.
  • D got a chance to restore his relationship with G and his own self-esteem.
  • D didn’t feel that he was a bad person instead he felt good about himself that he had mended the broken piece and made G feel better.
  •  G was happy that you recognized his concerns and comforted him and D did something to make him feel better.

Hence, none of the children carried negative feelings for the other. Instead, it made the bond of friendship stronger between them.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Conflict Resolution

In early childhood development, conflicts that the child has with her peers are viewed as learning experiences and opportunities for social, emotional and cognitive development. According to Jean Piaget, who developed the constructivist theory of child development, children are egocentric by nature in their early years (0 to 6) and can’t think anything beyond themselves. For them everything must revolve around their needs and wants. For this reason, they often have innumerable conflicts with other children who are equally egocentric. 

At this stage the role of the adult is to support the children and help them see the other’s points of view. They are not going to start considering others’ perspectives easily as it’s simply not in their cognitive ability to do so, but the patience, empathy and support from caring adults will help them transition from egocentric stage to the social stage a little more smoothly.

The two points that need to be kept in mind while helping children resolve their conflicts are:

·      Children need to develop healthy feelings of community, satisfaction and self-esteem.
·      Children need to be given ownership, responsibility and empowerment to come up with their own solutions.

Over a few days I would relate to you vignettes from my work and observation of children and provide constructive ways of dealing with their conflicts.

Situation 1 (What would you do?)
  • G was playing by himself on the carpet with a game called ‘Pirate Ship’. He was connecting different parts of the ship and balancing the pirates on its deck.
  • D wanted to join him and wasn’t ready to wait his turn. He wanted to have all the pieces of the boat and wanted G to submit to his ways of playing which G wasn’t prepared for.
  • Seeing G playing in a way that D thought wasn’t right, he tried to pull a piece from him and both of them began shouting.
  • The piece broke into two and G started crying.