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“Uncooperative” Kids

– How strict should the discipline be?

– Everything has to be put on the table for discussion! We even have to seek out reasons for discussions with everyone afterwards. But it has to be a discussion, not a condemnation! In these discussions every child puts himself in the other’s position—one time he is the accused, another time, the accuser, once he defends others, and then he defends himself, and so on. That is, we should help a person to come out of himself. We are all fighting our nature, which is an alien, internal mechanism that we have to rise above and use in the opposite direction. This is what’s important.

– To resolve conflicts, is there any point in creating a working committee of educators and instructors who get together in the evening, for example, to discuss the day that has passed and the difficulties that occurred? Or should everything be done together with the children?

– The educators should definitely get together and discuss things. But mainly, all of the work on upbringing, order, and regulation of all the inner relationships should be constantly incumbent on the children.

Practically speaking, by the end of our work in the camp, the children should conduct all of their work, and be able to work on themselves independently.

– Sometimes a child destroys the space around him and doesn’t fit in. In fact, he interferes with the processes. Under what conditions should he be expelled?

– There are several possibilities. If the child is difficult and doesn’t understand anything because he simply doesn’t hear it, that’s not his fault. That’s the way he is and you need to attach an older child to him who can influence him correctly. This is the best thing.

No adult educator can do this. An adult is perceived by a child as “furniture,” null. But a child who’s 3 or 4 years older is everything to him, and we must use it. An older child can turn to this “uncooperative” child and ask him to help in the kitchen or in another duty. That way, he occupies him for some time, taking him out of the collective and working with him individually.

Maybe this “uncooperative” child likes sawing, shaving wood, or hammering nails. And through that he will gradually enter the general atmosphere. And then, under the influence of the older child, he will begin to understand and feel what is happening here. These kinds of opportunities should definitely be created.

Expelling a child from camp and sending him home is an extreme case. It’s only possible to do that if it’s not a child anymore, but a young adult who cannot readjust psychologically. There are people like that, but they are very rare.

– There is a stereotype that if a person doesn’t fit in, kick him out and that’s the end of it.

– Definitely not! We cannot do that. We always use older children and the older environment in relation to the younger ones as intensively as possible. This kind of child can even be transferred to an older group. “You’re 12 and that’s what you’re like!? We’ll transfer you to the 15 year olds and see how you will behave there.” The older kids will quickly “set him straight” and he will take on the right form.

– How should we arrange the interaction between the children in this environment, in the camp, and the “wild,” local kids?

– We don’t have local kids or “wild” kids. We must clearly select and know what we are doing. We receive the raw material of children, and we have to send them out as humans.

– But suppose we take a trip to some place that has local populated points.

– There shouldn’t be any populated points. There has to be total isolation.

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