A third of the children on the island came to Marcus’s birthday party yesterday. There’re 28 school aged children on the island. Marcus is in first grade, which is equivalent age-wise to kindergarden in the US. There’re 10 students from grade 1 to 4, and they’re in the same “home room”. All of them came.
We love the kids on this island. They’re extraordinarily good natured. On school-wide hiking trip, Marcus said he was tired. In most other places, it’d be cause for jeering, especially since Marcus is the smallest kid and new to the island. Here, the bigger kids took turns to carry him on their backs. The daughter of our next door neighbor would sit on the backseat of a bicycle to balance it while teaching Nora how to ride.
At recess, everyone in the school from age 6 to 16 play the same game together. A popular game is a døball, which is similar to baseball. The older kids often bend the rules for the smaller ones and cheer them on when they do something right. I watched a whole game once. No fighting. No yelling. No pushing. Remarkable.
It’s not a Norwegian thing. It’s not even a Rødøy thing: people here told us that it wasn’t always like this. It’s something special with this particular group. It’s chemistry and leadership (from the older students in this case), both of which are necessary in forming good group dynamics.
It was a good party which ended with 12 children playing kick-the-can, a rather large group for the game. Nobody got upset. Nobody cried.