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Ruby’s Clear Message

In this video, Caroline supports 3-year-old Ruby to offer a clear message to her friends. Click the link to watch the video.

Download Ruby’s Clear Message.mov (7439.4K)

What do you notice?

What are the steps Caroline takes to move the children through the conflict to resolution?

What does she make explicit for them?

What questions does she ask and what do you notice about those questions?

What assumptions do you believe Caroline is making about the girls and their capacity to work this out?

In what ways is she in charge of the situation?

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9 responses to “Ruby’s Clear Message

  1. My favorite part is when the 4th child approaches and offers suggestions to everyone on ways that might solve their problems. I am always so inspired when the children step in like that and tells me they have the confidence and skills to resolve conflicts.
    Caroline is on the children’s level directly and clearly outlines the problem, then smoothly moves through what is happening, what needs to happen, and what agreements are always in place so that the play can continue. The only assumptions she makes is about the things she has observed and it is clear that she has faith in the children’s ability to not just work out the problem, but that they are able to find the best solution possible. This gives such confidence to the children, both in this situation and not, because the basic trust between them has been created.

  2. This is a wonderful video that shows how much children are capable of being part of a community when they have the language that supports it. For Ruby it must have been an empowering experience to be able to deliver her clear message.

  3. The most awe-inspiring thing about Caroline’s work with children is her unfaltering belief in their desire to connect and belong — and their worthiness, no matter who they are, to do both. It allows her to see every action as an attempt at belonging — whether the act misfires or succeeds — and allows her to support them to get it right, to fix it up, to successfully connect with one another. It requires her to listen so carefully, and to go slowly. It also allows her the confidence to be in the presence of mistake making without judging or being judged. It allows her to make this work THE work of the group and the classroom.

  4. Caroline gets right down on the children’s level and keeps Ruby, who is feeling excluded, close and connected to her while she encourages the children to resolve the situation. What I find most impressive is that she doesn’t intrude with a solution, but gives the children all the time they need, with only a gentle redirect to remember the classroom rules that have been previously established.

  5. I had to smile while I was watching this – there was deep understanding and patience about how Ruby was feeling on the part of the teacher, and she was able to help the girls solve their problem while walking that fine line between fantasy and reality. There is something delicate about a situation like that, and it was handled with grace, and it was truly at the children’s level of understanding. The teacher suggesting how they might all work together, but letting the girls work out the details, was beautiful.

  6. Something I noticed was the language and conversation happening between the children and teacher as well as the children with each other. Caroline takes time to work with Ruby and the other children to solve the problem. However, rather than telling the children what needs to happen, she encourages them to interact and converse with one another to problem solve. It was clear that the choices for ways to address the conflict were universal in the classroom. Ruby’s feelings were taken into consideration by Caroline as she allowed her to choose what strategy she felt most comfortable using to approach the conflict. Caroline really supported the children in working through the conflict as a group where everyone’s thoughts and feelings were considered. I have a deep appreciation for the respect that was given to the children. I think that respect is a valuable component here. I think it is great to remind the girls of their “classroom agreements”, as I am sure the children worked together to form those agreements. By encouraging the girls to solve their own problems, Caroline is showing that she believes in them and their ability to problem solve.
    -Carrie Benson

  7. Several impressions: 1) teacher was persistent in getting the students who were doing the excluding to engage; 2) teacher did almost all the talking for Ruby; 3) it took a lot of time and teacher didn’t rush the process. Several questions: 1) how/when/where were the strategies offered to Ruby taught? (giving a clear message, choosing a do-over) 2) how/when was the classroom agreement referred to developed?

  8. Here’s my rub though. I find it difficult to work on the presumption that the girl with the house MUST include everyone in her play. I realize that whilst it is an agreement in the classroom, that everyone wants to feel part of a community and worthiness id dervied from this, but as adults we have to learn that not everyone wants to include us and we do not want to include everyone, we have favourites and preferences – I am hoping further reading and discussion helps me resolve my conflict.

  9. In Ruby’s clear message. I noticed that the teacher got down on the girl’s level and her voice remained calm even thru the entire conversation. I noticed that the teacher offered different conflict resolution strategies to Ruby. Caroline allows the students to feel heard even when they were saying that Ruby could not play. Then Caroline moved thru to conflict resolution by reminding them about the agreement in their classroom. Caroline continues to ask what their roles are in the game and has the students suggest what role Ruby could play in the game.Caroline had to have faith that these girls would be able to solve the problem and that they could figure out a way where everyone could feel included. In my classroom I do not spend this kind of time on conflict resolution and I should. It means so much more to students (and we know kids learn better when there is meaning connected) when they are solving their own problems in real time. The alternative is taking about fictitious situations and telling students how they would solve those problems.

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