education

8. A Sound Environment for Children in the Classroom

sound-enviroment-for-a-child”When is it 2 o’clock?” (pick-up time)

”How many hours until circle time?”

”When is Lunch?”

I’ve been getting individual children asking me these questions shortly after the work session starts (a 3 hour work session where children are encouraged / directed to work with the Montessori materials and activities provided).

At first I was suspicious by their questions, but dropped it and made using the clock fun by showing the children how many hours we have until that time, sometimes making sounds of play as I moved my fingers around the clock, other times I would count the hour when I hit the 12 mark to make the process more interesting.  

Then more children started to individually ask me what time was circle time and what time was lunch time during our work session.

I asked a little boy once if the reason he is asking me is because he wants to go home. He said honestly yes, and I said ”well, what do you do want to do when you go home?” and he said he wanted to play soccer (football) with his dad.

It makes me concerned these children already 10-20 minutes into the morning work session are already wanting to go home. This is a huge problem… Is something going on the environment that is preventing them from enjoying themselves?

In my personal experience, I do find the way things are run in my classroom are not ideal which may contribute to children not being very happy. In this series I will walk through the problems I see and will add in my perspectives on how we can practically change them.

First of all the environment is not ideal – we are in an old building with long rooms, high ceilings and wooden floors on the second floor, so if chairs fall, glasses clink together, chairs scrape against the floor, or someone yells, the sound reverberates and echoes louder than usual. This causes many children and teachers to complain of the noise-volume, which affects stress levels, and disrupts work. When it becomes too loud sometimes teachers becomes angry/emotional and will speak and/or act in this emotion, that ripples in the classroom and affects the children. In some cases a child will cry because of the volume, so we would have to ring the triangle, remind everyone to talk in a quiet voice, but 30 minutes later it becomes loud again. These are ‘’Classroom Acoustic Problems’’ that actually harm a child’s health and learning.

There are a lot of little problems like this that contribute to making the work session environment not ideal/optimum for a child, and it’s really troubling to see children not happy and wanting to go home so early in the morning.

Practically, ideally, we require an environment/space that does not echo nor reverberate sounds for both teachers and children. Children are much more sensitive than us, so if we are going to have them work in an environment for long periods of time, we need to consider the environment and sound levels MUST fit their physical and psychological needs — they are of priority because the intention of school/classroom is FOR them to learn, grow and develop.

One way to fix the issue of tall ceilings that reverberate/echo sound is adding sound eliminator panels on the top of the wall, similar to what this classroom did here because these panels absorb sound very well, thus making the room much quieter and ‘’cosier.’’  If you’re on a budget, you can use cotton panels, which may not be the most attractive looking, but their purpose supersedes that (and children really don’t care what the room looks like). Other solutions can be adding carpets/rugs in the classroom, and more objects on the wall to block sound from bouncing off.

The most important point within this all is that the environment should be in consideration of both the child and teacher/adult’s health and wellbeing that leads/promotes optimum learning, growing and developing.

As my responsibility of a teacher’s assistant in the classroom, I will ask my team if adding panels in the classroom is a possibility, backing up my stance with research and personal examples for support, and will update you on any changes.

Thank you for reading!

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3. What Really Goes on in the Classroom?

Q5FJUK9OFHI attended a parent’s evening where the other teachers and I got to give presentations on what we do with the children and answer questions for the parents.

One of the teachers I work with shared a new pattern that has been developing with children in our classroom – and that is children judging and critiquing other children’s work by calling names in a negative sense, like for example a boy saying to another boy’s painting ”that is kitsy kratsy” – an expression basically meaning that work is babyish/like scribble.

When the teacher spoke and acted out the words as the boy (”kitsy kratsy”) at the meeting, the parents in the room laughed.  This was an interesting behavior that I did not expect from them, and perhaps it was because I forgot for a moment that the parents do not get to experience what it’s like in the classroom, and that to see the reality and the outflows when children make fun of each other’s work is actually not funny and we have a as teachers/staff have to deal with it.

Sure it may seem funny when the teacher pretends to be a child and act out the calling of names, but when you’re actually experiencing it by seeing other children say these remarks and comments towards another with the intent of getting some form of attention or to trigger reactions in another child — it’s actually not something to laugh about.  The result of a child crying or becoming upset is not fun to see and experience, and if the parent saw their own child having their work being made fun of/criticized/judged by others I’m sure they would not be laughing too.

One problem from this is how parents/child caretakers are very much separated and unaware of the social interactions that go on in the classroom, and I really think they should be aware of their child’s daily interactions with others because it is through daily interactions children have with the environment and other people that they develop themselves by seeing what is accepted and allowed and ok, and from this act on what they see others do.

If we have parents/teachers/adults allow bullying and name-calling to go on in the environment without intervention, children will continue to do it because they see it as ok.  If we find these things funny and not so serious to deal with, this may damage the child more than we may realize.  But the problem is is that we are not skilled or prepared (as teachers/parents, etc) on how to deal and handle conflict effectively to the point where we can support a child to stop and change a behavior completely that is best for all.  In the classroom I work in, we have intervened, though it has been difficult getting through to the child to stop the behavior/pattern completely — where the child will repeat it the next day. There seems to be an addiction to triggering other’s reactions by name-calling and bullying, and perhaps it is because of the nature we as adults exist in being addicted to the positive and emotional energies of the mind.

So, before I get off track, I’d like to get back to my point and that is how parents/caretakers are not aware of what goes on in the classroom as much as teachers/school staff, and I really think the parents should be aware 100% of how their child is acting in the classroom and interacting with students, because there is only so much teachers can do — we can direct, intervene, share knowledge, but it is really the parents that require to be just as attentive, supportive and aware of how the child is in the classroom because only then can they see what they need to align in themselves and their lives because however and whoever the parent is in their self-expression in how they exist for their child will influence the child, and the child will act according to how they have been brought up and witnessed in their parents and act it out in the classroom (and in life too).

Yet parents have to work to make money/survive and the education system is exactly set up to allow parents to fulfill their daily jobs while the children are taken care of by teachers. I really truly believe the best education a child can receive is from their parents, where parents really show and stand as examples of what it is like to treat others the way they want to be treated and live life in respect of oneself and the world. This to me is ideal, because if the parent is sound and stable in who they are and they through their living actions and words show their child how to live and act, that will influence and strengthen the child positively, that will send ripples throughout the world.

At this time parents and caretakers must go to work and use their time away from their child to perform duties simply to make money to survive. Despite this, there are courses and information parents can read and utilize from the (little) time they may have to assist them in understanding how to take care of oneself and one’s child in thought, word and deed in a way where the ripples of one’s action is a step to making this world a better place.  They can listen to parenting recordings on EQAFE, learn how to live through the power of words, and take a free self-developmental course.

1. An Eye for an Eye

Today a situation happened where T came to J and bothered her while she was reading. Because J was bothered, she became upset and took the paper crown that T was holding and tore it up.  Obviously, T became upset.  Unfortunately I saw only the after-effect, where I could hear T crying and asked him what happened. When I asked J why did she rip up T’s paper crown she said ”because he did this..”

Another situation happened today where V called F names and F reacted by hitting V.  Even though it was a different situation than what happened to T and J, the behavior and outcome was the same: The child receiving an action they didn’t like/was unpleasant ”retaliated” immediately by hitting or doing something equally as harmful.

Therefore, today the point of ”an eye for an eye” is what I’d like to share in this post. ”An eye for an eye” comes from a Bible reference, and according to Wikipedia, it is the law of retaliation — the principle that a person who has injured another person is to be penalized to a similar degree, or in softer interpretations, the victim receives the [estimated] value of the injury in compensation.

Within my 9 months working at this school what has been shown to me is that there is a tendency for children to fight back and/or retaliate equally when they are harmed in some way by another child. Not every child acts like this, of course, but this behavior is common and obvious in the classroom.

When I look at the word ‘retaliate’ what comes up in me is war, and how children, when they act out in retaliation, they fight against each other in that moment as if in war, yet they are unaware of the consequence because they act out in emotion.  In war usually the different sides want the other to experience a certain way due to the extent of emotion the other has to them, whether of anger, hate, etc — which is why they set off bombs and use weapons. However in this case I am showing that children who act out against in each in harming each for for the sake of ”getting back for what another has done to them” is just like war where for example one country is has been harmed by another country and wants to ”fight back” for the sake of what? So the other country can FEEL/EXPERIENCE what they did to another.Unfortunately by repeating this act of ”an eye for an eye,” whether as an individual or country only fuels this pattern, and no long-term solution can be found.

The other teachers and I in the classroom must repeatedly remind the children how we don’t accept and allow this ”eye for an eye”/ retaliation behavior, and we provide tips on what to do next time (ie: say STOP, or get a teacher) but it ends up going in one ear and out the other (meaning- they don’t integrate it/live in their reality and keep repeating the behavior).  Perhaps this is because it is difficult for the child to control themselves when in emotion, where it is so easy to act out and hit another/make another feel equally as bad.

For children, placing shoes in another is difficult because they are young and haven’t developed the skill yet. For us adults, with living on this planet for several years, interacting with people, being aware of what’s going on in the world, we can more easily do this, but it is a decision we must make, to practice/imagine being in the shoes of another and act in accordance to that, and some of us don’t want to step in the shoes of another for fear of realizing that what we are doing to another is not cool and we wouldn’t like it done unto us…and yet it is so much easy to remain ignorant and continue living our lives in self-interest/unawareness…

It is so easy to fight back, to yell back, to respond back in emotion, but the consequences are much worse than if we were to step back, breathe, assess the situation, and see how to direct the situation that is best for both parties.  It is challenging to do this when you are in the face of conflict where you for example are so overwhelmed in emotion you would like nothing better to do than to let that other person know and experience how you feel… just realize that if you allow yourself to ‘give into’ this desire of an ‘eye for an eye’ — acting out in self-interest in spite of another, you are actually fueling the pattern of retaliation and war not only in yourself and personal life, but your very actions also support and show that retaliation on a global scale is ok too.

What we accept and allow on a personal level is reflected on a global level. The more we allow war with each other through fights, conflicts and ‘getting back’ to each other in spite, the more we allow such things to happen on a global scale, like war between countries.

What I suggest for us as teachers, educators, parents and adults to do is to become aware of where we are spiting others, and even where we spite ourselves/go into conflict with ourselves — where we judge ourselves, hate ourselves, beat ourselves up when we don’t reach certain expectations…these patterns we exist in get influence and transfer onto our children.

So, hey everyone, let’s look out for these harmful patterns and empower ourselves to become something better by using tools of self-purification: purifying ourselves from the war and destruction within and towards each other.  We can for example identify the problems that compromise ourselves and our lives, forgive ourselves and script a new way of living.

 

Additional Info:

School of Ultimate Living – Develop Your Utmost Potential

EQAFE.com – Self Perfection Merchandise

DIP Lite – Free Self-Development/Self-Empowerment Course

Desteni.org – Extraordinary information on human consciousness