As many of you know, I coach middle school track in the spring. The kids will see me in my coaching clothes and I have shared stories with them about the bigger kids learning how to run and hurdle. One day Sela asked if I could teach them running so I taught them how to start a race. The kids learned the commands and then took turns being the starter as well as being the racers.
I then brought in small hurdles for them to use. You can see some of the kids weren't quite sure what to do with them and ran around the hurdles while others have heard me speak about them more and jumped right over them. Some of the kids called them "turtles".
I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes from here.
One of the things I love most about working in a mixed age group setting is that the children learn from one another. Several months ago, I taught Felix how to fold a paper airplane. Here he is teaching Charlie. I love how the boys are interacting and Charlie's face clearly demonstrates the struggles of learning something new.
Here is another example of Felix acting as a mentor to younger children. He is helping them figure out the water fountain. It is almost a right of passage here at Stepping Stones, learning how to use the water fountain then helping the younger kids. It takes some strength and coordination in order to manipulate the button to get a drink.
Children can be the same age and still act as mentors. Here Maggie has mastered the skill of flipping on the rings. The other girls are trying to figure it out. Maggie demonstrates how to do it, then she explains that you have to push off with your feet. She resorts to physically lifting Isabel's feet and with that extra help Isabel is able to flip on the rings too. Through this typical childhood scenario, we can see the abundance of learning that happens every day. The girls are demonstrating risk taking behaviors, problem solving techniques, persistence in learning, negotiation strategies and communication skills.
One day Charlie asked me to help him to make a paper airplane. Not really remembering how to do, I looked up the directions. As Charlie and I tried to figure out the directions several other children drifted over to see what was going on. Here we are reading the directions and step by step folding our first airplanes.