A few boys turn into avid bean-counters.
Once kids go to Kindergarten they pick up many of life's important foundations for their future but alas, along with those they tend to pick up a few choice words in the playground.
More so boys, and it is a mystery to me, how they instinctively know at such a young age the a word is not nice! The trick is not to respond, but when they know that you know...it changes the dynamics.
For a while now I have been having an English speaking hour with two boys who are still in Kindergarten. Sometimes they are angels and at times NOT. But that is par for the course and at that age they like to explore their boundaries. Fair enough.
To try out something new, I introduced the bean - jar. Armed with two empty jam jars and a Tupperware full of dried broad beans I told them the rules and the eventual reward. After they decorated their jar with their name, the rules were spelled out:
- Attendance....10 beans.
- Winning at Uno...2 beans.
- Learning and knowing new English words...1-3 beans.
- Using swear words....minus 1 bean.
- Being unreasonably naughty ( not unheard of in boys that age! )...minus 1 bean.
After four lessons, the beans are counted and the one with the most beans will get a huge bar of chocolate.
Consistency is of the utmost importance and at first the one little imp tested me and let a few swear words roll of his tongue. Not aimed at me but just mingled into conversation. That first time he had to open up his jar and take out a bean was not so easy, but he did it.
Competition is rife at any age and they will police each other's language with unbelievable acuity. The minute they utter a choice word, they look at me and when they see that I heard, they open up their jar of beans and take one out. Without a mutter too. ( Should I forget to hear it they remind me that the other one must give me a bean.) Good as gold.
Anyway, we've had a few weeks summer break and yesterday was the first time back. Personally, I think that the one boy wanted to test me and see if I had forgotten the swearing rule. A word was uttered, not too bad but still.
" That is not a nice word, please can I have a bean from you. " " Oh well Biggi, here are two beans because I just know I am going to use more bad words today! "
Oh, little imps are cute!