Rebecca Thompson (Director Stone & Sprocket)
You know, I have done baseline assessments on children with additional needs (meaning observing and recording where they are at) and more often than not 'play entry' comes up as an issue for educators.
'The child just doesn't know how to enter play, they just bowl in and wreck everything or hurt people'.
Yes, this can be an issue especially when people are getting hurt. So often we brainstorm what it is we can do to replace or reduce this behaviour with a more desirable one. I used to suggest modelling the language required to enter play e.g. "can I play?", "my turn", "me too", "what can I be?". I base this on what you would expect a child of this age to say, child development knowledge.
However what I had not thought of until recently was the fact that often children do not say anything, they just start playing.
So how do we model this as a replacement?
I suppose its time to start taking notice of body language and how we approach groups of children when we support a child with their social skills. Could we commentate what we are doing with our body rather than a rehearsed play entry cliche? Sometimes verbal prompting and modelling of language is useful but I also wonder if it is always socially natural?