by Hanna Vock
We regularly took the pre-school children on a trip downtown. On the way back we came by an ice cream parlour. As there was always so much to discover on our excursions and expeditions we hardly ever made it back in time for lunch and got hungry on the way.
Thus it had become a ritual (and the children had eventually come to consider it a customary right of theirs) that we would drop in at the ice cream parlour – for the fun of it, but also to take the edge off our hunger. In order to avoid tedious negotiations and discussions or even whining, we had come up with a rule: one child/one scoop, one adult/two scoops. The children agreed on the adults’ double portion “because adults have bigger bodies”.
There were always those children who would brag about getting three, four or even five scoops of ice cream when they were with their parents, but everybody understood this had nothing to do with our kindergarten rules. The advantage of the one-scoop-rule was also: the children would start thinking well ahead of time about what flavour they wanted.
We had always had a very stress-free and joyous ice cream stop-over and still enough appetite for a warmed-up lunch. One of our civil servants, however, thought he could bypass the rule by buying three scoops extra with his own money. Five scoops! Our self-confident children, always worried about fairness, were not going to tolerate this and demanded that he throw three scoops into the garbage. They teamed up and harassed him until he finally submitted to their request and got rid of three scoops. He never tried to pull this one off again.
For a few days, he indeed did not forgive me for not taking sides with him, but eventually he understood. Above all though, the children had experienced their collective power and accomplished to defend a rule they had found to be successful.
All this is by no means to advocate asceticism (outside of kindergarten I often have three to five scoops of ice cream) – it is just simply a wise rule that helps maintaining peace among the children.
See also: An „Old“ Concept – in Full
Date of Publication in German: 2013, September
Translation: Arno Zucknick
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