Yesterday I observed a 3 year-old in his nursery school class. I have worked with James for a year, building his language skills until they are age appropriate and his mom wanted me to do an observation to make sure he was talking in class.
James settled right in with a few girl friends at the dollhouse, as they lined up the princesses and he held tight to Woody. Suddenly the toy babies became a hot commodity and there was some grabbing to hold all three babies when there was actually one for each child. I did a little prompting on sharing and watched Janes use his words to ask, “Can I have one?” as he was taking it. After he took a baby from the girl he said, “Are you sad?” I was amazed at his question, linked to his taking a toy from her. The teacher said that they had just done a lesson on emotions! It was fun to see the learning carry over.
Words do help learning a hard concept like sharing and young children need lots of prompting to follow through. By the end of our little play session with lots of positive reinforcement for any semblance of sharing, the kids were proudly telling me that they were sharing.
It takes a lot of patience to learn to share–for the child and the adult!