Thursday, December 8, 2011

the bathroom may be cursed

Being reflective isn't always easy. No, sometimes it can make you cringe. It can be messy. Yet it is essential. Today was just such a messy day. The mess involved the bathroom and the ever enticing way this space seems to invite play. But when play evolves into disrespecting the environment and materials, well a line has to be drawn.

So today the Reggio voice in my head disappeared. replaced by an exasperated voice, asking: 
What in the world...Why would you...why...why...WHY?
I was really frustrated and felt like the importance of respecting the classroom environment and materials is something we embed in the curriculum each and every day.

Lucky for me time heals. Six hours and one serendipitous article in the journal Young Children later I am able to see more clearly. When behaviors are occurring that go against the established culture it is important to look at ourselves rather than looking at the children.

Many times the bathroom play happens during rest time. So this is where I need to look - at the schedule and the expectations surrounding this time of the day. Tomorrow morning we will have a class meeting and I have a few questions to pose.
What makes us want to play in the bathroom? It seems like a lot of the playing happens during rest time - what do you think about this? How do you feel during rest time? Is there something that we should change about rest time?
My hope is that this leads to a fruitful conversation and shared understanding of the problem and ways to solve the problem.

And...tomorrow, first thing in the morning I will make a sign similar to this one found at Beginnings Nursery.

It's important to own the good and the bad. These rough spots are how we grow. So for this I am grateful.

Stories. Advice. Ideas. All stories are welcome here.


  1. Oh my goodness- I know what you mean. At my last school the bathroom was an incredibly social place during rest time, and I was one of the teachers whose room was right next to it, so I found myself spending time standing in the doorway like a police officer, ending all of the fun. We actually referred to the bathroom as the piazza. If we only had a piazza that didn't encourage pulling out toilet paper and leaving water running when leaving!

    Those simple visual messages are a good place to start, as is that conversation. We have to find out where children are coming from, even with something that seems as black and white as this. I just put a link to the Albany Free School documentary on my blog for the post that will be published in the morning - their whole school meetings for conflict resolution FLOOR me.

    As always, thanks for sharing!

  2. It's really comforting to hear that others have bathroom woes as well. Call it misery loves company if you will - it just helps. So thank you! I just stopped by your page to check out the documentary...I will dedicate the time needed to watch it this weekend and get back to you - looking forward to it. Thank YOU for sharing.

  3. We do grow through the rough spots, through mistakes and too often schools teach children to avoid mistakes.
    Your reflection on the messiness in the bathroom was insightful. Too often we forget to look deeper, to isolate to determine the trigger, so that we can better come to resolution. You did that and then came up with a solution that involved the children in the discussion. You also looked at your practice not just theirs. I know that I would find it hard to lie down and rest when my body and my mind was not tired. You gave this same respect to the children. Sounds like Reggio to me! Adele



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