Ancora Imparo - I am still learning

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Observations of Socialization

Most of you know Taliesin is enrolled in an art class through our local art center. This is probably his eighth or ninth class with them. And he usually loves them! They have some great art projects and really encourage creativity and imagination. For some reason, this one has been a little different. We've had a few issues with him feeling excluded. And his art teacher has really been paying attention here lately, so that helps out a lot. But today, I was really watching him and the other kids and seeing what was going on. The class that he is in right now is a combination of different types of arts. Today during a dance time (not to be confused with his ballet/tap class), the kids learned a cute little dance in which the moved their hands like they were talking, flapped their arms like wings, shook their bottoms, and then locked arms with a partner and did a little turn with locked arms. It was lots of fun. But I noticed that the little boy that Taliesin was partners with really did not want to lock arms with him. He did, but each time the locking arms part came, he seemed to need a little encouragement from the teacher to do so. Sometimes Taliesin would automatically go to one of the teachers to dance that part with. When they held hands to form a circle, some of the kids did not want to hold hands with him, instead calling someone else over to take their hands. But he enjoyed it, so that's all that really matters. But these and other episodes at his art class have really made me think about "socialization." Even in kids this young (this class is for four to six-year olds), there seems to be an "in group." Most of the kids appear to know each other. The moms know each other. And those kids congregate together rather than looking at kids that they do not know or who may be a little different than they are. Granted, Taliesin does have his own ideas. He's very social. Take him to a park or a play area, and he makes friends within a few minutes. He walks right up to new kids, introduces himself, and starts playing. Sometimes kids are taken back by his outgoing nature, and then warm up to him after a few minutes. Others take to him right away, and they begin playing together, not wanting to leave when the time comes. But, at the same time, I think in a more structured, "school-like setting," for lack of a better adjective; he stands out. He cares deeply about things. For instance, today in art class, the kids made an invetion out of all kinds of knick-knacks. Well, when they were finished, the teachers put all of the left-overs that were not chosen back into a box. Taliesin noticed a rubber shark, a rubber spider, and stuffed sheep. He asked to take them, because he didn't want them to be put away. He also does not think in terms of boy/girl. Last week, the teacher assigned the kids different colors for an activity. One of the boys got purple. Another little boy shouted, "That's a girl color." Taliesin doesn't think that way. He's just as comfortable wearing his pink Dora the Explorer snowboots as he is Starwars or Batman t-shirts. I don't think other kids understand that because they have force-fed the socialization myth from the time they are old enough to play with other kids. They only understand the norm. They don't understand differences. It really is a sad situation.



Larissa Klusman said...

I totally agree with this. It is funny how young age segragation occurs anymore. The other day we took ben and hannah to the park. Ben does what he normally does and scopes out for playmates. He found to little girls about 7 years of age and started asking them to play and tagging along with them. They started giving him looks and asked him to quit looking at them. And then we are the ones hit up with "What about Socialization?" These kids aren't taught sociolization. They are taught not to think outside the box. :)

unschoolermom said...

Exactly! They are pretty much brainwashed into thinking that they only play with kids their own age, who have the same likes and dislikes. They are all to act alike, think alike, and be alike. I remember when Taliesin was in speech therapy, I kept thinking to myself that they were so determined that he say his words just like everyone else, that he use the same intonation as everyone else. Yes, I understand that it's important to communicate with people; but sometimes kids need to be themselves. They will say a word funnyr or have a different taste in clotes (often mismatched - lol). I remember thinking about how many people, all the time their children are little, want to them to act just like the other kids - walk like them, talk like them, play like them. Then when they become teenagers, they say, "Why did you take drugs just because your friends do?" or "Why do you drink just because your friends do?" Hello! That's what they've been taught since they were old enough to socialize. To me, it's just very, very sad.