If Preschool Students Had Access To Human Resources

William! Thanks for coming by. Please, take a seat. Can I get you something to drink? No? OK.

Well, I got your note. I’d love to talk through what you wrote and go into more detail about the incident that occurred today. Can you tell me about it?

Uh huh. I see. That must have been hard to deal with. Hang on, let me get you a tissue. No, it’s perfectly OK. This is a safe space. You cry if you need to.

You were saying? Wow. And how did you respond? 

Well…that was powerful. Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry you had such a negative experience. We strive to maintain a comfortable environment here and it’s unfortunate this happened. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

Now, before we discuss next steps, I’d like to go over the details, both in your note as well as what you just told me, OK? Great.

So, in the letter you slid under my door, you wrote…well, it’s hard to make out. The finger paint is a smeared under this blob of peanut butter. Would you mind reading it?

Haha, it’s OK. I have a hard time reading my own writing, too, sometimes. Instead, why don’t we go through what you just shared? Let’s see…you said, “Jessica called me poop and bit my arm. But she lied. I’m not poop. She’s poop. She’s mean and I hate her. She smells like my dog.”

Does that sound, William, to be right? Did I miss anything? OK. Let me write that down. “I’m hungry…can I have chocolate….”

Thanks for adding that. That’s really useful.

So, I have to be honest. Conflicts of this nature are a challenge. Matters like these tend to fall into the “he said, she said” category, and without witnesses it’s often hard for both sides agree on exactly what happened.

If it’s OK, I’m going to call Jessica in. I’d like to get her side of things and together find ways to make this a more productive work environment.

Jessica, what great timing! Come in. I was just saying to William that we should all get together. Please, take a seat.

William and I have been talking and there’s a matter I’d like to discuss—I’m sorry? That’s a photo of my family. Yes, that’s my husband. No, we don’t have any babies. Well, sure I like them, but—wow, that’s a really personal question. Thanks, but I’d rather not discuss it. Huh. So, your mommy has two babies in her tummy right now? Well, good for her. Some of us aren’t quite that fertile, but that’s a discussion for another day.

As I was saying, William stopped by to speak with me about a sensitive issue. Ordinarily, I try to meet with each party separately before bringing everyone together but given that nap time is in 30 minutes, I wanted to try to come to an understanding sooner rather than later.

According to William, there was an upsetting incident earlier today. Jessica, do you know what he’s referring to?

Hmm. That’s actually not it, though it’s good to know Missy called you “fart face” and pulled your hair. I’m going to make note of that, and later you and I can get together to discuss in more detail, OK? Absolutely. Your feelings are perfectly valid.

But, back to the subject at hand. William said you called him derogatory names and bit him. Do you remember this? 

Mm-hmm. So, what you’re saying is that William grabbed the Duplo block from your hand and threw it into the blue bin, but you wanted it in the red bin, and that’s what spurred the incident? I understand.

Well, my suggestion to both of you would be to use more effective communication skills going forward. Try to defuse potential arguments by telling the other person how you feel. Jessica, try it now. Turn to William and say, “I feel…” and let him know how his actions affected you.

Um, that’s not really what I meant. While you might “feel hungry” now that really has nothing to do with today’s events. I think—William, please put that down. My purse isn’t a toy. Seriously, put it down. 

Jessica, don’t stand on the chair! You’re going to fa—great. Just great. Come on, you weren’t hurt that bad. Stop screaming. William, PUT DOWN THE PURSE. 

You know, I think that’s enough for today. Why don’t you think more about what we’ve discussed, and we’ll revisit this another time? 

Yep, thanks for coming in. Go on, head over to your mats for nap time. Bye-bye.

What’s that, William? No. I don’t want to hold your booger. But thanks for asking.

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