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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Group work

Vieraskieliset / In-english
17.2.2020 6.45

Juttua muokattu:

30.1. 13:37

I am spoo­ning por­rid­ge in­to my yo­un­gest child’s mouth. Or trying to. He is sha­king his head right and left, stretc­hing his back, tur­ning his body around, trying to re­ach things, kee­ping his lips shut tight. He pays no at­ten­ti­on to my thre­ats that he won’t stay on the he­alt­hy growth cur­ves if he does not eat. I give him pie­ces of coo­ked ve­ge­tab­les that he can pick up him­self and eat. He ta­kes a coup­le of bi­tes and pus­hes them away. Frust­ra­ted, I won­der why simp­le ea­ting can be so dif­fi­cult. But then I re­mem­ber so­met­hing from my child­hood. I was around 6 ye­ars old, sit­ting on the floor with my sis­ter. We were sur­roun­ded by dol­ls and dol­ls’ clot­hes, our own clot­hes, dra­wing pa­per, cra­yons and stic­kers. We had been or­de­red to take away the glass jar full of la­dy­birds that we had col­lec­ted the pre­vi­ous day, alt­hough we would have li­ked to have kept them as pets. Mot­her had told us to tidy our room, but it see­med too much work. We had not even star­ted ti­dying when mot­her al­re­a­dy cal­led us to eat. We won­de­red which would be less fun, to tidy our room or to eat. Both see­med like pu­nish­ments. Time has eli­mi­na­ted this prob­lem, at le­ast as far as ea­ting is con­cer­ned.

It seems that the re­luc­tan­ce to tidy the home has been pas­sed on to the next ge­ne­ra­ti­on. When my son was in presc­hool, I or­de­red all fa­mi­ly mem­bers to do some hou­se cle­a­ning. I as­sig­ned a small part of the hou­se to each and en­cou­ra­ged them by sa­ying that we would have a nice and tidy home very quick­ly if eve­ry­o­ne did their share. I as­sig­ned the mud room to my son. I thought it would be ea­sy enough: hang up some jac­kets, col­lect some hats and glo­ves in­to a bas­ket. But I found the boy sit­ting on the floor, sig­hing he­a­vi­ly. Then he gro­a­ned, “Mom, I’m a group wor­ker!” I un­ders­tood right away what he me­ant and told him that’s what I am, too. We wor­ked to­get­her on two as­sig­ned are­as. Ever sin­ce that, I have gi­ven my kids two al­ter­na­ti­ves: eit­her do one ti­dying as­sign­ment alo­ne or two as­sign­ments to­get­her. Each child can choo­se. I pre­fer to do most things to­get­her with so­me­o­ne, alt­hough ba­king would cer­tain­ly be quic­ker and ea­sier done alo­ne than with the lit­t­le hel­pers. While pain­ting I so­me­ti­mes en­joy being by my­self. But oc­ca­si­o­nal­ly, when most of the fa­mi­ly are al­re­a­dy in bed, with on­ly one of the big­ger kids still doing ho­me­work, I ask him or her to stay in the same room. In that way I am not qui­te alo­ne, even though we hard­ly talk at all.

I gu­ess child­ren in a big fa­mi­ly au­to­ma­ti­cal­ly grow up to be group wor­kers. I have been hap­py to hear that many te­ac­hers have ap­p­re­ci­a­ted our child­ren’s group work skil­ls. We have not spe­ci­fi­cal­ly taught them such skil­ls. They have come as a bo­nus. The child­ren have not ma­na­ged wit­hout qu­ar­rels at school, ho­we­ver, but they have pro­bab­ly al­so le­arnt to ad­mit their mis­ta­kes and apo­lo­gi­ze if they have of­fen­ded so­me­o­ne. One te­ac­her said that child­ren who have se­ve­ral sib­lings are bet­ter ab­le to take ot­hers in­to ac­count and wait for their turn. Though I am so­me­ti­mes af­raid they need to wait for their turn too long, at le­ast at home. When there are many child­ren, and all of them have so­met­hing to say at the same time, some of them may feel left out be­cau­se the lou­der ones get all of their pa­rents’ at­ten­ti­on. As pa­rents, we need to watch out for the qui­et ones and give al­so them op­por­tu­ni­ties to speak. Such op­por­tu­ni­ties of­ten oc­cur in the cour­se of nor­mal eve­ry­day life while dri­ving a child to a hob­by or ta­king him or her along for shop­ping. The lit­t­le ones usu­al­ly tell me their news as soon they come home from school, while the big­ger ones wait un­til the yo­un­ger child­ren are in bed.

The baby seems to have a much bet­ter ap­pe­ti­te for fruit pas­te in the eve­ning than he did for por­rid­ge in the mor­ning. With the whole fa­mi­ly pre­sent at the tab­le, the baby eats well for the sheer joy of ea­ting to­get­her with the ot­hers. For the rest of his por­ti­on, ho­we­ver, he needs to be held by one per­son, fed by anot­her, and al­lo­wed to watch a coup­le of ot­hers skip­ping around and ma­king fun­ny fa­ces. We are not exact­ly going by the book. We are ben­ding the ru­les a lit­t­le to suit our group work ap­p­ro­ach.

Text: Vir­pi Mä­ki­nen

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal fin­nish blog post here.


Käänny puoleeni; Herra, ja ole minulle armollinen, sillä minä olen yksin ja avuton. Ps. 25:16

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