Small Leaders: the Social Construction of Leadership in a Comprehensive in a Preschool Essay

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SMALL LEADERS: The Social Construction of Leadership in a Comprehensive in a Preschool

Di’Asia Basnight

Fayetteville State University

Abstract

Children of ages 3-5 years old enjoy the presence of other children. They begin to express their feelings more and learn that other people have feelings also. Some children develop a sense of humor and like to laugh, repeating silly words and name calling. A stuff animal, blanket or special pillow may be needed for comfort when being away from home. Children can have very stereotyped ideas of what 'boys' and 'girls' are like; girls wear pretty dresses and boys play with race cars and dump trucks. The social phenomenon of leadership was observed as and connected to the characters of the children as they acted out at play time. Cognitive and social leadership skills were observed through toddlers when putting away their toys and independently using the bathroom. Their moods change rapidly but they are much more friendly and outgoing, participating in groups and cooperating with others.

I settled into the only chair in the classroom of the Preschool that wasn’t three inches off of the floor, located off to the side by the computer where it looked as if little or no activity would be taken place. There were three rows of sleeping children on their cots with about four children in each row. Each child slept with their own individual blanket and pillow to keep them comfortable. I noticed that one little boy had a pillow pet. A pillow pet is a unique pillow that can fold up to look like a stuffed animal and unfold to provide as a pillow. “Row one, get up and place your cots on the ben,” the student worker instructed the first row of children that were impatiently waiting for naptime to be over. The children hastily got up and dragged the cots to the closet, struggling, but placing them on the ben. They had individual cubby holders which they placed their blankets and pillows, labeled distinctly with their names. One child was still sleeping, so the little girl went over and said, “Get up, nap time is over.” They entered the bathroom two at a time, washed their hands, and sat down at the table. I assumed this procedure was in their daily routine because they didn’t have to be instructed to do so.
Each child was given a small four ounce cup of milk and two graham crackers. Seemingly, some of the children were not expecting graham crackers from the expression on their faces. There was only one of the children that did not receive graham crackers, instead she got peaches. I perceived that she had some sort of disability because she didn’t speak clearly, overactive, and she threw temper tantrums frequently. Surprisingly, the kids drank all of their milk. Well, everyone except Megan, whose milk was knocked over by a little boy charging at the table. Megan grew angry, bawled up her fist and proceeded to hit the little boy in the face. The teacher immediately caught her in her action. “Oh no you didn’t little girl, go have a time out, you don’t go slapping people!” the teacher yelled. Megan screamed with rage as she ran to the timeout spot, and slammed the door behind her. As the other children watched Megan’s behavior that obviously was a distraction to them, they remained silent to keep from adding on to the disturbance. Following snack time, the cartoon, Jimmy Neutron was turned on for the kids to watch. I suspected this was going to be interesting knowing that children have a short attention span. One little boy sat extremely close to the TV, he wore glasses so obviously he had a problem with his vision. He sat in the same spot, attentively watching TV the entire time. There were only a few children that were constantly doing other things besides watching TV, after being called out several times by the teacher, they eventually got in order.
After about thirty minutes of watching TV, it was play time. Each section of the classroom was categorized as centers; Housekeeping…