Sunday, July 13 2014
The other day I found myself asking questions to a circle of GoPlay children, much like the famous AT&T commercials. My question: what is your favorite play center at GoPlay!? One child surprised me by saying the Café. With all of the centers we have set up, from the Indoor Playground to Kid Town, why had he said the Café? Was he hungry? So I asked why. (This is usually where the AT&T fellow gets into trouble.) The response pleased me. The child did have his reasons. “I get to make a sandwich and put potato chips inside”. He was then joined by other children claiming they liked the Café because they were able to choose the cracker toppings, have many slices of pizza, and dip pretzels in cheese. It was when I asked, “Is that all you like about the GoPlay! Café?” that I received the notable answer. “We get to use our manners,” said one little girl. I found the phrase “get to” intriguing. “You like using your manners?” I asked. “Yes!” most exclaimed. “We can talk to our friends and they listen,” said the girl. These were the manners to which she was referring. In the GoPlay Café, the children sit at tables of three to four children each. The staff has taught them that we have conversation at the table. Only one person speaks at a time, and the others listen and wait to speak. This little girl loved to be listened to by her peers. This simple rule in our Café, one that helps keep the noise down, ends up being one of the greatest gifts we can give to children: the ability to be heard and respected.