Talk to the Ear: A great idea for preschoolers
This is not my original idea, but I used it in our class last year and it worked very well:
Once upon a time there were three little boys: one had the hair the color of golden straw and eyes the color of a summer sky. One had rosy cheeks and dimples. The third had skin the color of the sands of the most beautiful beach and eyes like melted chocolate.
These boys loved each other very much – like brothers. But they also fought like brothers – over sharing toys, and who wasn’t sharing toys, and who had a longer turn with the rocket ship, and so on. With each tiny injustice that the three boys subjected on each other, they felt they must inform their teachers and snitch on one another. Though the teachers loved these little boys very much, their constant snitching was driving them BATTY!
So, one day, the teacher saw a in a magazine great idea from another, much more seasoned teacher as a cure for snitching.
The next day, she brought in an advertisement from a newspaper about hearing aids. The picture was that of an ear.
It was a hairy ear.
It was a scary ear.
But this listening ear would prove to be very useful in the classroom. Because sometimes, preschoolers just want to be validated by saying things out loud. Even to an inanimate object. And by the time they finish expressing themselves, many times, they are already on their way to independently figuring out a conflict.
The next day, at circle time, the teachers introduced the ear to the whole class. They told them that if there was a problem that didn’t involve safety, for example: if someone had a toy for too long and another friend really wanted that toy but the first friend was not giving up the toy, the offended member of the non-sharing incident could go tell the ear.
Five or ten minutes into open play time, an offense was committed: the boy with the hair the color of straw really wanted the red ball. Really.
“Go ahead, tell the ear,” his teacher said with great encouragement.
The boy slowly approached the ear, placed at child’s height on the wall of the classroom. The boy did not know just what to do at the ear. Should he put his ear to the ear? Or his mouth to the ear? Should he whisper? Or shout?
By the time the boy confessed his problem to the ear, he saw the whole thing to be so funny, so hilarious, that instead of complaining, he found himself laughing and forgot what had gotten him so mad in the first place. By that time, the ball had been abandoned by his other friend. And the offended boy went to play with a walkie-talkie, sans batteries.
And the three boys and their teachers lived happily ever after … until it was time to once more talk to the ear.