by Quynh Nguyen, Early Elementary Teacher
The sandbox can be a place for digging the biggest tunnel, baking the best sand cake, finding the remaining hidden sparkly jewels, and splashing in puddles that form after a week of Seattle rain. It can also be the venue for problems and problem-solving. Here are two sandbox-related issues that the students in my class have processed with teachers on the playground and later added to the Class Meeting agenda:
#1 “You threw sand in my face.” It can be annoying and physically uncomfortable to get sand in your eyes. Often, my students will report that someone threw sand in their eyes on purpose. Upon further investigation, the sand usually ends up in someone’s face because the digger was not aware someone else was behind them. With the help of teachers and friends, our class concluded that you should be careful when digging in the sandbox so that you do not get sand in a friend’s eyes and that you should check in and see if they are okay.
#2 “There are too many people in the sandbox.” The class wanted to discuss the maximum capacity of the sandbox. They did not want to exclude friends but wanted to ensure that there was enough room to play. Eventually, they concluded that there should be a limit. Many numbers and supporting arguments were presented. After a long meeting, five kids in the sandbox at the most was the conclusion. For many recess periods after, the kids frequently reminded their classmates of the rule they came up with. I could see that they were trying to follow the class’s decision. This number only applies to my class. Unless they want to bring this issue to the larger Early Elementary community.
There will be many mistakes and many issues that will arise. I look forward to more conversations and amendments.