Yesterday morning at school drop off:
Oldest boy in the class: “Lil D, yesterday you said that I could pick the teams today for hockey at lunchtime”.
Lil D: “Yup, you can”.
Me: “Huh? Why is he asking you about picking the teams?”
Lil D: “Because every day I pick someone to choose the team names and pick the players”.
Last evening at dinner I did some more digging on how their daily lunchtime hockey game is organized.
The background (I knew prior to yesterday):
After lunch every day the children play outside for a full hour (weather permitting). Since the fall, most of the boys play hockey for the full hour. I love this – yay for physical activity. In the last few months, they’ve been naming their teams after NHL teams and every day, the minute I walk through the door at pick-up time, I get a report on the final score.
The details (mostly new to me):
When everyone is outside, Lil D yells “Everyone playing hockey come to the middle”.
Lil D (the self-appointed commissioner) then selects the team “picker” and another team captain. They select the day’s NHL team names and pick their players using a “1” “2” team assignment system. Each player on the team then consults Lil D’s hockey sticker book to decide which NHL player they will be emulating that day (including positions).
There is then a very structured process for face off (one of the goalies drops the puck) which includes exactly when you can put your stick on the “ice”.
The boys then play for the rest of the hour (I’m estimating this takes a good five minutes).
I was puzzled. These are three to five-year old boys and Lil D and Lil C hadn’t mentioned any teacher involvement in the organization. Well, apparently Miss M does get involved, but only should there be a dispute on whether or not a goal should be counted. Essentially, she’s like the video replay judge. Otherwise, the children do all the organizing, regulation, and dispute resolution on their own.
This is a Montessori school and this approach is certainly Montessori – with teachers as guides fostering independence.
As parents, I think we need to take this as a reminder that left alone (supervised for safety), children can learn creativity, organization and dispute resolution, most likely more effectively than if we are constantly interfering.