Our world is built on collaboration
People interact with each other to create the world we see around us. Everyone knows that collaborating can be difficult.
People speak different languages; have different cultures and goals and the list goes on.
But to make collaboration work people have to get to know themselves, accept differences and mistakes, and learn from others’ successes.
The Freinet school “De Klaproos (The Poppy)” planned a cultural visit to Brussels on the 16th of February for their 8-9 year-old students. They needed extra helping hands, so John and Sam joined their adventure. We went to Studio Globo where the children were submerged in a world of ethnical diversity. The kids were divided into small groups and each group was assigned a small house (in the beautiful setting created by the social workers of Studio Globo) where they had to fulfil a certain task. The tasks ranged from: making a music performance to making a meal. The instructions they received were in other languages or brought in a way they were not acquainted with. They had to collaborate with their groups to figure out what the instructions meant. It was wonderful to see how the kids took on different roles within their group.
After a while some groups were asked to merge with other groups to collaborate amongst groups. This changed the whole setting and group dynamics. The kids had to adjust themselves, but took on the new challenge with the same vigour. Some kids felt better in the larger group while others were moving more to the background.
Afterwards the kids were openly asked to tell what they had felt during the exercises. They openly discussed personal issues, sometime resulting in friction between some of them. The staff of Studio Globo framed the critiques so that the kids focussed on constructiveness instead of destructiveness.
In the afternoon we visited Kuregem (the neighbourhood in Brussels where Studio Globo is located). It’s a neighbourhood with a vast ethnical diversity. The walk led us passed Jewish schools; African export companies for cars, Mosques and neighbourhood senior care centra. Although the kids are not use to experiencing this vast richness of ethnical diversity, they reacted very positive and accepting for all the new colours, smells and sounds rising from this neighbourhood.
Bottom line of this adventure: The kids got out of their comfort zone, experienced and had to accept ethnical differences and they loved it!
We are daily going through this exercise, and can definitely learn from how accepting children are.