First Field Notes

From: May Sarmac
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Date: 07 Oct 1996
Time: 13:08:28


I visited Barrios Unidos on Thursday, October 3, 1996. There were about nine kids there altogether. Their ages ranged from the age of five to twelve. The number of boys and girls was not evenly split; there were six girls and three boys. During our briefing, the kids got restless and very often talked over one another. It was mostly the girls that were disruptive while the boys tried to keep quiet. I think the girls were louder than the boys because the oldest girl in the group was being loud and talkative. Thus the rest of the girls found it okay to do the same. After the kids filled out the paperwork for Barrios Unidos, we were given approval to play board games in the computer room. There the kids were much calmer and played peacefully with each other. Larry and I played Sorry with five-year old Brian and twelve-year old Juan. What I thought was interesting about that was that though Brian was so young, he was telling Larry and me how to play the game. When Juan came to join us, he informed us that we were playing wrong and showed us the right way to play. At first I thought Juan would overpower the rest of the players, particularly Brian, because he was an plder child. Instead, Juan explained the directions, played the game and even helped us out when we didn't know what to do. When Brian was having difficulty counting how many moves he has to make, Juan patiently helped Brian out by counting spaces with him. It was really nice that an older child was helping out a younger child without dominating him. After a while, Brian left our game of Sorry and went to go play Monopoly. That was when Duane joined Juan, Larry and me in our game. What was interesting about that was that there were three adults and one kid palying Sorry. I would have expected the kid, Juan, to be a little intimidated by us, but he felt comfortable and continued to paly the game. I guess I noticed these events because I was a part of it. I was actively helping the kids play and playing with them at the same time. I was interested in these events because it was the kids that were teachung us the rules and objective of the game instead of the other way around.