When it comes to supervising children, there is a lot of debate over how much is too much. Parents, teachers and school administrators can drive themselves crazy trying to “do the right thing” for the children in their care.
Should one be a helicopter — hovering over then to make sure everything is just right? Or, should you be a humming bird, flitting in and out, checking on things and modeling as needed, and then flitting back out to let them be?. Or even a jaguar — not really seen, but always watching, off at a safe distance?
I suppose the best answer is — it’s situational. It depends on the age of the child and the location of the play. Of course, you can imagine that as The Grass Stain Guru, I am heavily in favor of the jaguar and hummingbird. Helicopters are loud and pesky. Helicopters command attention, instead of the play at hand.
In education, we talk about scaffolding experiences. Using strategies that support play as needed, but knowing when to step back. The key to being good at this is being a keen observer of play and understanding when and how to offer support in a way that does not derail or adulterate the play.
But as with many things in life, I say less is more. Let children play and engage in what comes naturally to them. Try and keep your sense of fear and/or anxiety in check, making sure it is rooted in reality and not media hype or the unnecessary drive to bubblewrap the children in your care.
I promise…it’s all going to be OK.
See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru