Tuesday, January 8, 2013

One Strategy for Working with Sadness

by Shawna Lee, Clearwater staff member

To be human is to experience a range of complex and powerful emotions. For many of us, becoming aware of and taking responsibility for those emotions is a formidable and lifelong challenge.

Children, too, experience complex and sometimes overwhelming emotions. I am often dismayed by the ways adult culture can trivialize, minimize or try to talk children out of their feelings, as if children's feelings are somehow less real or important than those of adults.

At The Clearwater School, students are free to grapple with the spectrum of emotions that come up every day from happy or difficult interactions with friends to satisfying or frustrating experiences. Clearwater students feel chagrined and angry when they don't meet their own expectations, or sad and bitterly disappointed when friends renege on existing plans or make plans that don't include each other.

Because Clearwater students have so much time and space to work with all their emotions, they become skilled at identifying, owning and expressing their feelings when they are young. The following video illustrates how 10-year-old Vera chose to work with her sadness one day when she felt left out of her friends' activities. Note that the friends in question were in the Art Room, where all three of them were happily drawing together on the day Vera talked about her comic.


Unknown said...

I'm awed by Vera's ability to speak so clearly about and in front of the same people who saddened her. Clearwater kids are remarkable at dealing with their own place in others' narratives without putting themselves at the center.

silvia said...

I like that she is free for order and number sequence without a standard set by the adult. creativity is intact.