Stones in a bucket
The Maple Room kids wrote and performed a very short play called, ‘Stones in a Bucket’ as a way to show their understanding that words and tone of voice can hurt, as well as make someone feel happy and accepted. They performed this play for the 3 – 6 year old children, too, so the younger children can learn from the older children about ‘put downs’ and ‘put ups.’ Thanks, Megan, owner of Montessori Children’s House of Lewiston, for introducing me to the concept of ‘put downs’ and ‘put ups.’
One child held a bucket. The children took turns walking up to her, saying a put down and then dropping a stone into the child’s bucket. This child’s face and body language showed her weighed down with sadness. Examples of comments were:
“I don’t want to play with you.”
“You’re not my friend.”
“I don’t want to sit with you at lunch.”
“You’re not invited to my birthday.”
The words and the sound of the stones made a big impact on the preschoolers.
Next the children took turns walking up to the child with the bucket and said ‘put ups’ and took a stone out of the bucket. The child responded, showing that she was feeling more confident and happier. We wanted to end on a happy note. Examples of ‘put ups’ included:
“Do you want to play?”
“You’re my friend.”
“I like you.”
“Do you want to sit with me at lunch?”
Afterwards we had a ‘chat back’ with our audience, and asked for the younger children to respond. They said:
“The stones sounded mean and hard as they clanged in the bucket.”
“The mean words with the stones made her feel sad.”
“When they said kind words, they took a stone away. Her bucket got lighter. She was happier.”
“Words can hurt and make people feel sad.”
The actors responded by saying that it was hard to say the mean words and it made them feel sad. Saying the kind words was easier and made them feel good.
Thanks, big kids, for teaching the younger students a lesson on kindness and the power of our words.