FYI 6 January 22, 2017

Hello everyone,

It was another busy, rain-filled week! It was difficult for everyone to stay inside but rain is still welcome and needed in our community. I check the forecast for next week and it looks like more rain is coming. Please make sure that you pack extra clothes (shoes and socks too) so that they can change after recess if they get wet. At this time, students are supposed to keep their shoes on because of safety issues. If there is a fire or emergency, students need to be able to move outside quickly. Sitting down and tying shoes is simply not an option so taking off their shoes will not be one of their choices. Hopefully there will be dry moments so we can enjoy some outside time. Keep your fingers crossed!

Even though it was a short week, we got a lot accomplished. On Tuesday, we did a science unit with Sally and Michelle on the digestive system. The students conducted an experiment about digestion with crackers and water. We also watched a video of food being digested and made a life-sized model of the body and added the essential parts of the digestive system. Stay tuned for next week when we study the skeletal system!

In literacy, we continued our differentiated word sort study by introducing the letter "s" and the digraph "sh". Our new sight word for the week is "the" and we are continuing our practice of counting to 100.

Next Friday, the 27th, we will be celebrating Lunar New Year with the Kinder Pod. We will be creating crafts, playing traditional games and even tasting some New Year food. Teresa sent out an e-mail alerting you to some of the items we might need. If possible, please help out! Near lunchtime, we will be parading with our craft items so if you would like to join us, we would love it!

On January 30th, Room 6 will be going to a nearby gymnastics facility. If you are interested in being a chaperone, please contact Tracie and let her know.

Upcoming...

January 27 - End of semester (Progress Reports to be sent out) and Lunar New Year celebration.

January 30 - Field trip to Gymnastics facility

January 31 - Class Meeting at Aqui's in Campbell 6:30.

February 7 - 100th Day of School (We need help!)

February 14 - Valentine's Day Celebration

February 20-24 - President's Day Break

Our Week...

Rough Play: One of the Most Challenging Behaviors…

Posted in Young Children, 7/11

Young children enjoy very physical play; all animal young do. This play is often vigorous, intense, and rough. You may know this “big body play” as rough-and- tumble play, roughhousing, horseplay, or play fighting. In its organized play forms with older children, we call it many names: King of the Mountain, Red Rover, Freeze Tag, Steal the Bacon, Duck-Duck-Goose, and so on.

From infancy, children use their bodies to learn. They roll back and forth, kick their legs, and wave their arms, some- times alone and sometimes alongside another infant. They crawl on top of each other. They use adults’ bodies to stand up, push off, and launch themselves forward and backward.

As toddlers, they pull each other, hug each other tightly, and push each other down. As children approach the pre- school years, these very physical ways of interacting and learning begin to follow a predictable pattern of unique characteristics: running, chasing, wrestling, open-palm tagging, swinging around, and falling to the ground— often on top of each other.

Sometimes young children’s big body play is solitary. Preschoolers run around, dancing and swirling, rolling on the floor or on the ground, or hopping and skipping along. Children’s rough play can include the use of objects. For example, early primary children might climb up structures and then leap off, roll their bodies on large yoga balls, and sometimes tag objects as “base” for an organized game. More often, this play includes children playing with other children, especially with school-age children who often make rules to accompany their rough play.

Children’s big body play may resemble, but does not usually involve, real fighting (Schafer & Smith 1996). Because it may at times closely resemble actual fighting, some adults find it to be one of the most challenging of children’s behaviors. In spite of its bad reputation, rough play is a valuable and viable play style from infancy through the early primary years—one teachers and families need to understand and support.

Misconceptions about rough play...

Teachers and parents often mistake this play style for real fighting that can lead to injury, so they prohibit it (Gartrell & Sonsteng 2008). The Child Development Associate (CDA) states, “Play fighting escalates to real fighting less than one percent of the time (Schafer & Smith 1996). And when it does, escalation typically occurs when participants include children who have been rejected (Schafer & Smith 1996; Smith, Smees, & Pellegrini 2004). (Children who are rejected are those “actively avoided by peers, who are named often as undesirable playmates” [Trawick-Smith 2010, 301].) Attempts to ban or control children’s big body play are intended to protect children, but such attempts are ill placed because children’s rough play has different components and consequences from real fighting (Smith, Smees, & Pellegrini 2004). Rather than forbidding rough-and- tumble play, which can aid in increasing a child’s social skills, teachers’ and parents’ efforts are better directed toward supporting and supervising this type of play, so that young children’s social skills and friendship-making skills can develop (Schafer & Smith 1996).

What it is and what it is not...

Big body play is distinctly different from fighting (Humphreys & Smith 1987). Fighting includes physical acts used to coerce or control another person, either through in inflicting pain or through the threat of pain. Real fighting involves tears instead of laughter and closed fists instead of open palms (Fry 2005). When open palms are used in real fighting, it is for a slap instead of a tag. When two children are fighting, one usually runs away as soon as possible and does not voluntarily return for more. With some practice, teachers and parents can learn to discern children’s appropriate big body play from inappropriate real fighting.

In appropriate rough play, children’s faces are free and easy, their muscle tone is relaxed, and they are usually smiling and laughing. In real fighting, the facial movements are rigid, controlled, stressed, and the jaw is usually clenched (Fry 2005). In rough play, children initiate the play and sustain it by taking turns. In real fighting, one child usually dominates another child (or children) and the other child may be in the situation against his or her will. In rough play, the children return for more even if it seems too rough to adult onlookers. In real fighting, children run away, sometimes in tears, and often ask the teacher or another adult for help.

Why it matters...

Rough-and-tumble play is just that: play. According to Garvey:

• all types of play are enjoyable to the players

• have no extrinsic goals, the goal being intrinsic (i.e., pursuit of enjoyment)

• are spontaneous and voluntary

• involve active engagement by the players

Rough play shares these characteristics; as in all appropriate play, when children involve their bodies in this vigorous, interactive, very physical kind of play, they build a range of skills representing every developmental domain. Children learn physical skills—how their bodies move and how to control their movements. They also develop language skills through signals and nonverbal communication, including the ability to perceive, infer, and decode. Children develop social skills through turn taking, playing dominant and subordinate roles, negotiating, and developing and maintaining friendships (Smith, Smees, & Pelligrini 2004; Tannock 2008). With boys especially, rough play provides a venue for showing care and concern for each other as they often hug and pat each other on the back during and after the play (Reed 2005). Rough play also allows young children to have their physical touch needs met in age and individually appropriate ways (Reed 2005; Carlson 2006), and provides an opportunity for children to take healthy risks.

From an evolutionary developmental perspective, play- fighting allows children to practice adult roles (Bjorklund & Pellegrini 2001). That is, big body play helps prepare children for the complex social aspects of adult life (Bjorklund & Pellegrini 2001). Other researchers speculate that it is practice for future self-defense, providing vital practice and the development of critical pathways in the brain for adaptive responses to aggression and dominance (Pellis & Pellis 2007). There is a known connection between the development of movement and the development of cognition (Diamond 2000), and researchers believe there is a connection between this very physical, rowdy play style and critical periods of brain development (Byers 1998). Rough play between peers appears to be critical for learning how to calibrate movements and orient oneself physically in appropriate and adaptive ways (Pellis, Field, & Whishaw 1999). There is evidence that rough-and-tumble play leads to the release of chemicals affecting the mid-brain, lower forebrain, and the cortex, including areas responsible for decision making and social discrimination; growth chemicals positively affect development of these brain areas (Pellis & Pellis 2007). In other words, rough-and-tumble play, this universal children’s activity, is adaptive, evolutionarily useful, and linked to normal brain development.

Supporting rough play...

Adults can do three specific things to provide for and support rough play while minimizing the potential for injury: prepare both the indoor and outdoor environment, develop and implement policies and rules for rough play, and supervise rough play so they can intervene when appropriate.

Environments that support big body play...

The learning environment should provide rich opportunities for children to use their bodies both indoors and outdoors (Curtis & Carter 2005). When planning for big, rough, vigorous body play, give keen, thoughtful attention to potential safety hazards. Children need to play vigorously with their bodies, but they should do so in a safe setting.

Some general rules for big body play might be

• No hitting

• No pinching

• Hands below the neck and above the waist

• Stop as soon as the other person says or signals stop

• Rough play is optional—stop and leave when you want (A Place of Our Own, n.d.)

Going forward...

Most children engage in rough play, and research demonstrates its physical, social, emotional, and cognitive value. Early childhood education settings have the responsibility to provide children with what best serves their developmental needs. When children successfully participate in big body play, it is “a measure of the children’s social wellbeing and is marked by the ability of children to . . . cooperate, to lead, and to follow” (Burdette & Whitaker 2005, 48). These abilities don’t just support big body play; these skills are necessary for lifelong success in relationships.

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