Great things are only possible with outrageous requests – Thea Alexander
Children often have very little opportunities to be fully in control of various aspects of their day. While we try hard to intentionally take their desires into account, sometimes we simply can’t abide by their requests in the moment. Sometimes a small group goes on a trip and others have to be told they can go another time. While this is normal and expected, especially in group care, we still want to ensure we are doing what we can to acknowledge their requests when they arise so we created what we call a Request Board.
So far, the board has been a really wonderful addition to the classroom. Children are starting to become aware of the board, and learning that teachers do what we can to follow through on their requests.
O tried to grab a dry erase marker from my hand and I let him know that he is welcome to ask for dry erase markers, but that I would rather he didn’t grab the marker from me. He said, “Please can I use dry erase markers?” Since we were about to eat, I said I could put it on the request board. O watched me write it, then said to his friends, “C put markers on the request board!” Later that day, I put out foil with dry erase markers while the children were eating a snack, stating, “O asked to use dry erase markers earlier this morning so I am putting them out now.” O replied, “Oh thank you C!”
About a week ago I was bringing a group to the Studio. O, A and N requested a studio visit of their own to do clue – so this week we went! When I said the plan O said, “Oh, thank you for letting us go, Cynthia!”
What was nice about this visit was I didn’t go with any plan of my own, it was entirely up to the children. They chose clay and some loose parts to add to the clay and because I had no plan, I was very laid back and calm during the entire experience.
The request board has allowed me an opportunity to hold true to my value of being child-led to an even higher degree than before. I also see that it has helped trust develop between the children and myself – they have seen us follow through on many plans written down on the board – they know this is a solution that works when they want to do something but we can’t right then. T said, “I want it – can you write it on the board please?” O said, “She did, she did write it on the board T!”