The Social Sensory Cognition Process in Action

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Kids Cooperate social groups create the space for transformative learning through the  Social Sensory Cognition Process. The SSCP has been described in several other posts, here, here, and here, but I am often asked by parents what this actually looks like in groups.

Connected Conversations

We start each group off with a process called "connected conversations". This involves each child having a chance to share something important that happened to them since we last came together as a group. Other group members are encouraged to ask follow up questions and make comments so long as they are connected to the original piece of information that was shared. Conversations are important because our possibilities for action and reaction is shaped by how we see the world, and understanding that others see it differently. In this sense, words are the raw material that relationships are made from, and the words we speak and listen to define our possibilities for growth, connection, and transformation. The other aspect of these connected conversations is that the facilitators draw out important information about what is on the kids minds. We use this to shape and refine out curriculum which is "emergent" and based on the children's interests. To know what is relevant to the kids lives, you have to ask.

Providing Context

The next part of each group involves me framing the activities that we will be doing with a specific thought or process. I take a few minutes to share some ideas such as, "there are the facts of any situation, and then there is the way we perceive it, what we add with our thoughts and emotions. Today we are going to focus on separating out the facts of what happens from our feelings about the way things should or could be." Many of the kids who attend groups tend to think very literally, and enjoy challenging me when the ideas i present are too abstract. We all enjoy these exchanges, and I am happy to open the space for respectful disagreement and discussion. After all, conversation is the clearing in which learning happens.

Play

Play is a child's work, and it is the way we practice, integrate, and apply new skills. The third and final part of each group is "doing social interaction". We play a variety of games that are selected to scaffold the children's needs such as delay of gratification, resilience, learning to lose (and win), pragmatic language skills, and more. While activities are going on, facilitators circulate and look for teachable moments. These come in a lot of forms, Conflict, celebration, withdrawal, and connection.