I started my day today by sending out this message.
For my two years teaching Full-Day Kindergarten, I’ve had the pleasure of working with two amazing partners: Paula and Nayer. Watching and listening to both of them, I’ve learned — and continue to learn — how to better connect with kids and support their growth. It really is about all of these little things that are actually not so little after all.
- It’s in the arms wide open for the “good morning” (and “goodbye”) hug.
- It’s in the soothing, calming voice when the tears sometimes come.
- It’s in the extra minutes you take to listen to a child’s story.
- It’s in finding out all about brothers, sisters, best friends, pets, parents, and grandparents, and then remembering everything you hear.
- It’s in taking the time to sit down, eat, and converse with kids … small actions that show them how much they really matter.
- It’s in appreciating when something that may seem small to you is big (and important) to the child, and then giving this “something” the attention it needs and deserves.
- It’s in remembering who ate their lunch, who didn’t eat their lunch, who doesn’t want to eat their lunch, and who you really need to convince to eat their lunch … and how to do so effectively without causing stress.
- Take the point above, replace “lunch” with “washroom,” and you have the next point.
- It’s in appreciating all of the wonder of play, for play’s sake, and knowing how — at just the right time and in just the right way — to make those meaningful literacy and math connections.
- It’s in knowing, and understanding, the power of the environment, and how changing the learning environment — from the structure and the activities to the colours, lights, and sounds — can truly change the learning for kids.
- It’s in seeing the outdoor space as more than just a “recess area,” and appreciating the learning — from self-regulation to risk taking to academic skills — that can come from this environment.
- It’s in understanding that the students always come first, and as much as we plan with our document in mind, the kids — and their needs — are really what matters most of all.
- It’s in knowing, without a doubt, that children of all ages truly are “competent and capable of complex thought,” and when we see them this way, we start to recognize the power in letting go, observing, supporting when needed, and watching them shine.
In Ontario, Kindergarten teachers have the pleasure of working and learning with Early Childhood Educators … but they’re not the only ones that can learn from them. There’s value in seeing things from multiple perspectives, and the experiences, views, and knowledge that E.C.E.s bring to education, are beneficial for all parents and educators. What have you learned from an Early Childhood Educator? What impact has this had on you and your students? Today, and every day, I’m grateful for what Paula and Nayer have taught — and continue to teach — me.