"Recently, one of the girls at A&I has been getting in a lot of fights with her friends. They all pick on each other, as 8-10 year old girls tend to do. It hasn't turned into anything really worrisome at all, but they do really press each others' buttons some days.
At the end of the day today, I'm sitting at my laptop working on admin stuff. I overhear the aforementioned girl in the video room recording a video for her YouTube channel (by herself). 'Hey guys, this is a tutorial video about how to relax when you're mad or sad. There's six steps. The first is to just walk away so you can calm down...' She records a bunch of takes, repeating the same lines over and over until they are exactly what she wants. Here are my thoughts on this:
1. It's so cool that this kid knows how to record her own videos and upload them to YouTube. Could she be more of a 21st century kid?
2. It's awesome that she decides to deal with her friend-group drama by making a tutorial video about relaxing. She's using her natural creativity and interest in video making to help herself navigate how she feels about the friend tension and make concrete steps to help herself deal with it. Who says she needs an IEP or a 'management plan'?
3. Not only is she helping herself figure out how to deal with her issues, but she's making a video for other people to watch. She's conscious of the fact that others are probably dealing with similar struggles and wants to help them out, too.
4. THIS is what unlimited screen time looks like, for all the naysayers. If you think kids won't learn from having unlimited access to screens, you are just...wrong! Imagine all the things this kid is learning. The basics - the literacy skills and typing skills you need to even make a video in the first place - but also communication skills, persuasive language, coping mechanisms, and self-awareness. By the way, this is the same kid who spent hours outside in the pouring rain today enjoying getting totally soaked and buying hot chocolate off-campus with her friends.
This is what we mean when we say kids are happy at a Sudbury School. Not (always) that smiley, "I did it!" or "I'm having fun!" kind of happy. The deep satisfaction of solving your own problems and using your own interests to navigate your problems and your world kind of happy. Deep, true, satisfaction that comes from genuine, real-world problem solving."
Are the children in your life happy?
Brooke Armstrong, Staff
Arts & Ideas Sudbury School
1700 South Rd.
Baltimore MD 21209