Ode To Preschoolers.
I was asked me the other day, “When do you think we’ll be able to hug again?” I automatically thought of my classroom of two and three-year-olds. My family wasn’t my first thought because social distancing isn’t happening in our home. We’re huggers, so that ship has already sailed.
But, my preschool classroom, that question impacted my heart deeply. Could it be that we are NOT returning to the classroom? Sadly, this may be the truth.
THIS IS WHAT I MISS THE MOST ABOUT MY DAY WITH YOUNG PRESCHOOLERS:
Thresholds. Each child enters the classroom in a particular way. Their personality shining brightly. They usually have something to share with me, or something to report, which can be quite entertaining. Their brain has inventoried the events from home to school in a meaningful way. Sometimes the report is positive, and sometimes not so much. Often, the telling is hilarious; such as, my family member did or said (blank). They share freely what the world looks like from where they sit, literally.
Tiny Moments Of Big Connection. The towers built, the pretend meals served, the jackets that are zipped (mostly) by themselves, and the delicate treasures found outside on the ground are the most precious gifts of my day. Each of these tiny moments contain: Did you see what I created, accomplished, or discovered? What wants to happen next? How can we do it together? For young children, this is how play deepens and a collaborative view develops. The pathways of the brain are organized from rich connection experiences. This process is super duper important.
Straight Talk. Two and three-year-olds are very honest. If you do something they don’t like, they will tell you. Great news, because if they are not telling you, then they may express themselves in less desirable or understandable ways. And yes, I have been busted acting like a non-verbal two-year-old as an adult.
Snacks. Eating a snack with young children is riveting. The conversation revolves around the texture, smell, and taste. A total sensory experience with hilarious commentary. I appreciate the conversations about what is consider a spicy food the most. They like what they like, and they make no excuse for that stance. Refreshing.
Unplanned Rituals. The classroom becomes its own community. Things that we do unconsciously suddenly become an important ritual. How do you know? Because if you forget to do it, then an uprising occurs instantly. I love this phenomena.
Art. Have you seen young children do art? Enough said. May all grown-ups approach creativity with unfiltered expression and lack of perfection.
Saying Goodbye. We end the day singing the song Skidamarink. The last line of the song is “I Love You.” This brings tears to my eyes. Early childhood educators do what they do out of love. It isn’t for the money, just to clear that up.
I am honored to be part of a community of professionals that are deeply dedicated to the well-being of children. Even in the midst of chaos, educators are attempting to find ways to connect and support families. Their personalities shining brightly.
Let us remember the value of all educators when things return to “normal.”