You plan your activities and lessons to be as exciting, fun, and meaningful as possible. And when most of the children engage in them, you feel a sense of pride and success! But what about those kids who simply don’t want to participate? Have you failed, or is there something going on with the kids themselves? Should you force them to participate? Allow them to sit on the sidelines?
Those are among the questions I asked of Heather Shumaker, author of It’s OK to Go Up the Slide, which includes an entire chapter on this topic, and early childhood expert Amanda Morgan in an episode of Studentcentricity.
Following taping, Heather had this to add:
If a child doesn't want to participate in what the group is doing, don't panic. All behavior has meaning. Respect the child, but respect the group, too. That means the child has the right not to join in, as long as her actions don't disrupt the group's activity. Protect the rights of both. Young children do a lot of learning through observation, or they may be dealing with fears or other social learning.