It’s often been rumored that SYC is the place where anything goes. Everything is allowed. No structure. No rules.
Well that is not entirely correct. It’s true, yes, that our focus is child-centered. Children make their own choices of who they play with and what they play with and how they spend the majority of their time at SYC. We honor SYC as their time and their space.
But there’s more to SYC than “do what you want when you want.” SYC does have structure, rules and limits.
These limits fall into some general categories:
· Safety – People and things aren’t for hurting, wash hands, stay in a room with a teacher
· Structure/Routine – your stuff belongs in your cubby, “it’s time for us to ….”
· Independence/Self-help – everyone throws away their own trash, gets their own lunchbox
We believe that every child at SYC has the right to feel safe and respected. So limits are set in a gentle yet firm matter-of-fact manner. We might empathize with a child, “You really wish you didn’t have to wash your hands”, or joke with them, “What if we never washed hands?!?”, but the limit is still there.
Because each child and classroom community is unique, the finer points of the limits may vary slightly from room to room and child to child. We understand that some children need more support than others, and that younger children tend to need more support than older ones. Some respond better to a firm “shoes” than a longer “it’s time to put your shoes on now.” Similarly, self-help looks different in a 2s class than in the 4/5s. Teachers are constantly observing both individual children and the class as a whole to assess their needs and skills and consider that information when setting limits. They are also prioritizing building relationships with children so that any limits that are set are done so within the context of a safe, trusting relationship.
So, is SYC a free-for-all where kids can do whatever whenever? Certainly not. Is it a place where children can take risks, follow their own interests, decide how to spend their own time while they learn to set limits on others, listen when limits are set on them and build their self-help skills within the context of a trusting relationship with an adult other than a primary caregiver? Absolutely.
…Amy Rudawsky and Susan Roscigno, SYC Co-Directors