Jump Jim Joe

“I’m gonna jump, jump, jump Jim Joe.”

Tap your toe!

A child stands in front of a classmate and holds out his hands.  The other child takes the offered hands, and the song begins.  So many levels of activity going on here, but the most poignant is the social connection.  These games evoke some of the most basic experiences of being human: What does it feel like to be included?  What does it feel like to be rejected?

The song can be taught.  The dance can be taught.  But the puzzle remains of how to choose a partner, and that also needs to be taught.  First of all, every person in the class needs to be included, so the children are instructed to choose a new partner each time the game begins again.  Also, everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, so the children are taught that if someone holds out their hands, you accept.  For the quiet child, the challenge is to reach out to others, or at least to be available for others to invite them.  We demonstrate how you can raise your hand high if you find yourself without a partner, so that someone can find you.  Often the other single person is behind you, and out of sight. And there is always the option of  “Emergency 3′s” where you can join a group of two if time is short, and no other singles are close by.

An Emergency 3.

Why go to all this trouble to teach the step-by-step social skills of this simple play party game?  Ah… the social skills make ALL the difference in the experience of the game.  If everyone feels valued and if each person knows that they will be treated fairly, then something magic begins to happen.  The energy flows and bubbles over.  There is an almost ecstatic feeling when everyone in the room is feeling the kindness of others, and they are singing and dancing together.  This moment is worth every minute of teaching time spent on the minutiae of social connection.

“Now you find another partner, and you jump Jim Joe.”

~ Liz

Click HERE to download a pdf of Jump Jim Joe.

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