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Learning to Build Relationships

October 14, 2020 | Sossi Essajanian

Building trusting relationships includes getting to know the people we will trust in our community. As a vehicle to practice this, the Sky Class children have been using bears to explore skills related to relationship building. They have chosen a bear, given it a name, developed characteristics, shared them with others, and used them to practice basic conversation and ways to make connections.

Preschool gives children an opportunity to explore not only emotions but learn how to play and share with others, how to get inspired by someone’s ideas and try it for themselves, how to celebrate for others who had a turn when they wanted one. All of these happen during small moments of interaction: while playing and discovering together at the light table, while drawing, building with Magnatiles, pretending in the kitchen. There are many “Me too!” or “I like that!” moments and children learn how to develop these into foundations for relationships.


It all begins with an introduction…


This week the children took turns introducing their bear to the group. They shared the name of the bear, its favorite color, what it likes to do at school. After the introductions, the floor was opened to questions.

However in those moments of interaction, there are differences in ideas, preferences, approaches, understandings, motivations. How does one negotiate these, while simultaneously strengthening and building a relationship?

What if we both want to play with something in a different way?

What if I want to change the game?



To practice this, Sky Class teachers modeled a common scenario where two bears wanted to do different things with the same items. They watched how the bears named Gerald and Arch both wanted to use a bowl in a different way: one wanted to make pudding and the other wanted to make soup.

“Maybe they can do half and half.”

“Gerald can take the bowl and Arch can do the plate.”

“Maybe they can do their idea first and then the other idea.”

“We can have pudding and soup.”

The development and skills of interacting, of communicating, of building relationships continues… nothing can replace the joy of a connecting moment!

Sossi Essajanian

Teacher, Sky Class

Sossi Essajanian is excited to continue her teaching and learning journey at the Mustard Seed School. She began teaching at the United Nations International School where she worked with children and colleagues from around the world. This inspired her to take a primary teaching position abroad in Nicosia, Cyprus, where she lived and worked for two years.

Ms. Essajanian has a passion for supporting children’s social/emotional skills and learning through a loving and caring classroom community. These are built on creating shared understandings and opportunities for children to identify and express their feelings and of those around them. She believes in creating experiences through pair and group work where learning blossoms through social experiences.

Ms. Essajanian also enjoys reading and talking about books and continues to pursue her second passion: editing. She’s worked in various editorial capacities in newspapers, magazines, and books. She was recently excited to serve as the development editor of a children’s book about engineering and is looking forward to leading some tinkering investigations of her own with her students!

In her free time Ms. Essajanian runs, swims laps, and likes to take long walks to explore the world around her.

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