Tenet 4: Use words – not hands! – not teeth! -not the angry dance! -not the whining song! or the silent sulk!

Identifying emotions in oneself and others is an important skill for Kindergarten and a key part of expressive language.
The  “Angry Dance”, “Silent Sulk”, “Whining Song”, and “Frustration Frazzle” are not peacemaker ways of communicating or solving problems.

Early in the year, model what these reactions look like with the class. They will find this very funny! Show the undesired behaviour, identify it, and decide as a group whether or not it is effective for communicating to others and helping them to understand what they are needing.

Discuss why these are not effective methods of communicating our feelings? (i.e., other people can’t help you fix what’s wrong if they don’t understand.) Explain that when you are doing these things or acting in any of these ways, we can’t really help you because we don’t know what’s wrong.

We have to model and teach effective communication explicitly to children.

They need to understand that active listening is not just being quiet. It’s hearing the words that someone is saying, thinking about what the words mean, and asking questions if needed. These skills require practice and continuous modeling and feedback.

Children need to understand that in communication there are speakers and receivers. To understand both roles, children need explicit teaching, modeling, practicing, recognizing, and celebrating of both active listening and effective communication.

It is our job to be explicit about what it means and looks like (Define!) and then facilitate the practice. Recognize when it is happening and help children to recognize it too.  “Oh I just heard someone make a good choice! What did they say?” Stop and notice the behaviour, then celebrate it!! Facilitate the learning… if you check in and they don’t know, get another friend to help by modeling or explaining.

During or after a conflict, start with:

“What do you want him/her to know?”

The more we use this tactic, the better children get at identifying how they feel and articulating what they need.

The “I” Message

Teach the “I” Message early in the year. There is a peacemaker way to give any message. Use gentle words to give a gentle message –

“I feel_____(this way) when_____(this happens), I need_____ (this to happen instead).”

The Recipe

Another great communication tool to teach students early on is the “Recipe“. This is a way to establish respectful language and communication in the classroom.

Did you use the Recipe?

  • Use the person’s name, if you know it.
  • Use a polite word.
  • Say clearly what you need.