Helen and I were privileged to take an inspiring trip to Los Angeles where we visited Nancy Gell at Oak Glen Nursery School, Tim Craig at Children’s Circle Nursery School, and Deborah Carlisle-Solomon, Helen’s RIE Mentor. For three intensive weeks, we observed, explored, and absorbed as much as we could of the unending knowledge and skill Deborah, Nancy and Tim have in Early Childhood. At both Oak Glen and Children’s Circle, ‘meeting time’ and ‘group meeting time’ are used effectively to slow a transition down, to engage the children in reflecting on their day, and to be truly present with the children. Bringing this idea to Helen’s observation was completely natural. Rather than rushing to get indoors, we want to slow the transition and give the children time with the adults.
This concept is something we have discussed and have put into action at Kindergarten; the adults supporting those needing help with outdoor gear, slowing right down and coming together to talk about our morning together. Led by an adult, we go onto the decking to sit together and talk about what we’ve been up to that morning. Nancy says to the children at Oak Glen, “So, what’s cookin’?” I really enjoy the sense of community this opportunity to come together brings.
In our Group Meeting Time at Kindergarten, some of the children talk about their morning and what they would like to do at the weekend with their families. This time together gives us a wonderful insight, and most importantly gives the children the truly present and mindful adult they need to help carry them through the transition.
You can find information about RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers), Janet Lansbury and Hand in Hand Parenting here: