Democracy in the ELC

  • Learning
Alexandra Gerba, Pre-kindergarten Teacher

For the past two years, an old weaving loom has sat in the corner of our classroom unnoticed. This year, however, it sparked interest, and the Penguins and Seals asked if we could set it up. Teachers tied the strings, found a home for the loom, and purchased some yarn. But with so many colors to choose from, how would we decide where to begin? So, the pre-K Penguins and Seals learned the power of the word "vote." We started our lesson with an open conversation. Had anyone heard the word before? What does it mean?

“If you vote for something then whatever gets the most votes is the thing that wins” one child shared.

“You can also vote for people. Like people voted for Donald Trump to be the president,” another offered.

“My mom went to New Jersey to knock on peoples doors and ask them to vote!” a third child recalled.

Children getting ready to vote

We then discussed why a vote is so important. The Penguins and Seals learned that you only get one vote, and your vote can go to whoever or whatever you really want. Even if your friends are voting for something different, it’s your decision what or who you vote for. Your best friend might really, really want you to vote the same way they’re voting, but you don’t have to. And the other neat thing about a vote is that you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to! Your vote is private, and it’s just for you. Your vote matters.

Voting

The children were then given a choice between two colors of yarn to choose from for our weaving project; pink, or green. One by one each child got up to cast their ballot. Room 307 has never been so silent. The class was still and the excitement palpable. When everyone had voted, we pulled out each vote and counted them. One by one.

With only one ballot left in the box, green and pink were tied eight votes to eight votes. Some children were sure the last vote would be for pink, while others insisted it would be green.

And it was!

The voting tally, and proudly wearing "I voted" stickers

There was an eruption of cheers from half of the group, while the other half sternly crossed their arms and huffed. Which led to perhaps the most important aspect of the lesson. Sometimes, your vote gets you what you want, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it will be okay, because there will always be another opportunity to vote again. It’s okay to feel angry and frustrated, and like your vote didn't matter. But it did. It might take some time for you to feel okay about it, but you will think about your feelings, vote again, and maybe next time your vote will win.

Using the green yarn on the loom

 

  • Early Learning Center
  • Pre-Kindergarten