Our classroom community is finding ourselves at this crossroad. We have a lot to say - specifically to each other - about our wants, needs, and wishes, but we don’t quite have the tools developed to express it in appropriate ways. Frustrations and emotions often mask our desires and instead of peaceful, considerate language and actions, a child might yell, whine, or cry as they try to communicate to their peers. As teachers, we have taken this opportunity to consider the child’s Zone of Proximal Development. In simpler terms, this describes the difference between what a child can do without help and what they can do with help. We wondered, with the right tools, how can the children communicate their sentiments in a more socially acceptable manner? Also, was there a way for a child to not only communicate his/her feelings, but also guide a peer in the appropriate direction?
As the language becomes modeled and implemented in the classroom, the visuals eventually become no longer necessary, as the children will have added a new skill to their communication repertoire, and expanded their Zone of Proximal Development.