A Good Day For Play

Another great week in the books at TMH Juniors. We took advantage of the beautiful weather and the backyard at Parkside and let the kids play outside instead of doing hangout and snack in our usual place. They LOVED every minute of it and it was wonderful seeing them all engaged in imaginary play, throwing and kicking balls and running around playing catch with each other. It's so rewarding to watch the friendships grow throughout the year and to see them play in different environments so smoothly. As long last the weather cooperates, we will be spending some time outside each afternoon for the rest of the year.

We want to make the most of our last couple of months of the program for this year. While each of the kids comes with his or her own personality and brings something incredibly unique to our group, we have found that there are some social skills that we really want to focus on and practice to help make the kids more socially aware. For the final few weeks of the year, we will emphasize the following skills:

  • Being an active part of the group. This means participating in activities, talking with their peers and answering questions.
  • Being a good listener. One of the things our kids struggle with the most is letting one person talk at a time. We call interrupting when another person is talking, "bumping into" other people's words/thoughts. In order to work on this skill, we will be using a "talking piece" after vacation. When someone has the talking piece, everyone has to be listening to the person talking and can't talk or ask questions until the speaker is finished.  
  • Giving people personal space. It's wonderful that everyone loves each other so much but there are times when kids sit on each other's laps, lean on their friends bodies or just get too close while talking, making the other feel uncomfortable. We will be using big body games and physical challenges to help the kids work on this.
  • Being flexible friends. We can all be rigid sometimes. This happens with adults and kids. We will be spending these last few weeks throwing in some curveballs and unexpected challenges to make the kids be more flexible when dealing with changes.  

If there are things that you would like us to work on these last few weeks, please let us know! We are very flexible with our schedule and want to make these last few weeks as meaningful as possible.  

We hope that you found a special place for the stained glass kites the kids made today! We were really proud of the way the kids patiently waited while we helped each person get the project set up. It was challenging for them to wait at times, but they did it, and in the end, they all ended up with a beautiful and unique kite. We just love watching the kids help each other and compliment each other's work week after week.  

As you know, we end each week reading a book that has some kind of social-emotional message. This week we read We're All Wonders by R.J. Palacio, the author of the amazing book Wonder. The kids listened and soaked up each word of the book, which talks about the importance of being kind, empathetic, and able to look beyond physical appearance and physical differences.  

As a reminder, we are off next Wednesday, April 12th but look forward to seeing everyone on April 19th and hearing about your spring break adventures!