Conflict is inevitable. We all experience conflict at some point in our lives. Most of us experience conflict each week or maybe each day. The secret is to learn how to handle situations that result in conflict. Our young girls face conflict of course, and the way they work through these conflicts provide life lessons. As educators we are constantly torn between allowing the girls the space to work through conflict on their own and intervening with supportive lessons and solutions that “fix it”. We want the girls to learn to work through their struggles with peers and yet we need to protect them from potential physical and psychological harm. Parents weigh in on both sides. Many say that it is important for their daughter to learn how to resolve issues without adult help. They need to use their voice and listen with empathy. This is great, however when things go awry the story goes home and generates much confusion and emotion. Parents and teachers may sometimes be at odds, but ultimately we want the same thing- children to have a positive school experience from which they emerge well prepared for life. Teaching our children that they have the ability to handle conflict and can learn even from negative experiences is so important. I often quote from author Jessica Lahey, who writes about these topics for the New York Times and the Atlantic. In her book, The Gift of Failure, she states, “The social conflicts of childhood are all part of our education in human relationships and failure to negotiate also provides its own lessons. Squabbles are opportunities to be valued, not emergencies to be managed.” As a school we continue to strive to find the perfect balance. We want to teach our girls to use their voice, talk things through and bring a sense of empathy to the conversation. Each week, Ms. Best teaches the girls a new tool for their “toolbox”- including empathy, listening, and, most recently, the apology and forgiveness tool. Practice with these tools will enable the girls to gain independence from both teachers and parents as they handle those inevitable conflicts with confidence. For more on Toolbox by Dovetail learning see the link below.
I hope that my communication with you encourages “talking points” to inspire weekend conversation with your children. Here are some “talking points” for this weekend.
- If you are in Kindergarten- What sound does the letters “sh” make? What animal are you researching for your first “research report”? Are you enjoying hearing everyone’s stories during Writer’s Workshop time?
- If you are in First Grade- Did you like the way your self-portrait came together in art class?
- If you are in Second Grade- Which guest speaker had the most impact on you so far? What ideas did you gather as you start planning your micro-business?
- If you are in Third Grade- Did you enjoy the games your classmates created to illustrate the plot of their Roald Dahl book?
- If you are in Fourth Grade- What part of the On-Stage performance did you enjoy the most this week when you traveled to Goucher College?
- If you are in Fifth Grade- What impact did visiting the Supreme Court and the US Capital have on you?