March 29, 2012
During recent early childhood and Grades 3-6 assemblies, students reviewed three important strategies they can use for working through socially challenging situations. (Grades K-2 students will get the review at their next assembly.) Gillispie shorthand for the three approaches is the “okay” hand symbol, with one strategy for each finger.
The first way children can work through a challenging time–to “make it okay”–is to use their voices:
“Stop. I don’t like that.”
“I’m done playing this game; I’m going to take a break.”
“Hey, you know the rules!”
Using your voice to take a stand, claim your space, and insist on fairness and respect takes practice but is an important life skill for emotional health and safety. It’s the most direct and often most effective way to resolve a social issue.
A second way to work through a social situation is to take action. We discussed during the Grades 3-6 assemby how “bystanders” can become “allies” of bullying “targets” by doing something to help their friends. Taking action can include using one’s voice, but also can mean intervening as a third party (standing up for someone), changing the tone of the “conversation,” and even physically moving a friend away from a tense situation.
Third, children shouldn’t be shy to get an adult involved. This includes reporting to adults behaviors that are “not okay.” It’s another life skill to know when to get help from others–adults do it all the time (for example, adults will consult legal, medical, or financial experts when needed). On Gillispie playgrounds, it’s often a wise move to involve the adult on duty–especially when the two other strategies have not worked.
These three empowering strategies, which can be used in combination, help Gillispie children navigate social interactions, preparing them to positively assert themselves as they head out into the world.
Head of School
Assistant Head of School