The Thrill, the Will and the Skill by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

26th May 2017

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Without the ‘thrill’ there is no ‘will’ to take engage. If children don’t engage then they will never acquire the ‘skill’.

In Early Years, you have got these children who every time the door is opened stampede towards the outdoor area and plant themselves on a wheeled toy.

Then, the fun really begins…Crashing, banging, hurting, destroying, fighting.

First of all, you ask nicely for more appropriate behaviour. Then you tell, nay demand, better bike etiquette. Then you threaten confiscation of the wheeled toys or compulsory eviction from the outdoor area until attitudes improve. The problem is…attitudes never do!

I work with lots of settings who resort to the ‘lock away’ method. This consists of locking away any and all wheeled toys to ‘teach children a lesson’. In my experience, this is HUGELY unsuccessful!

There are very few children at any age, but especially Early Years, who when their favourite thing in the world is confiscated and ‘locked away’ take time for a period of reflection, inwardly examine their misdemeanour and then vow to be better citizens! They just get grumpy and find mischief elsewhere.

You see, the fundamental issue is not about wheeled toys, it is not even about the children concerned, it is about us and the environment and activities that we provide.

If you have children who are heading for the door, the simple fact is that there is nothing in the rest of your classroom that they find as engaging. If there is no door to head for, they will just find other ways of avoiding the tasks you have created for them.

That is when the concept of thrill, will and skill come in.

It is the THRILL that gives them the WILL to want to engage. What we need to do is capitalise on this and make sure that the provision on offer also develops their SKILL level.

The THRILL doesn’t have to come from big physical activities. The THRILL comes from any activities with high levels of engagement. THRILL can be small and quiet as well as Ta-Dah!

What I am basically saying is that if you have gang mentality on your wheeled toys and scrums around your iPad and constant confrontations in your construction while your workshop area remains void of testosterone and full of sparkly pom poms then you need to have a small rethink.
Take some time and do yourself a THRILL, WILL , SKILL audit. Identify where your children find their ‘thrill’ through their own interests or inspiration you have given them. This will promote high levels of WILL and then the harder bit…Take a long hard look at the level of SKILL development that is taking place and then adjust accordingly.

This is not only about children on wheeled toys, it is also about children who will sit in mark making or workshop areas for long periods of time and produce beautiful pieces of work that do not challenge them or take their learning forward.

Regardless of their gender, find out what THRILLS your children and just make sure that you use that THRILL to actively support the development of SKILL.

Hear more from Alistair at Childcare Expo Manchester on Friday 16th June. Seats for his anticipated seminar are limited so book on today!

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