As I walked out of our Southern Hills program today on my way to get started on this blog post I was struck by a moment I was blessed to observe in the hallway. As I was leaving I noticed a teacher and a two year old student interacting while they waited for his ride. As she helped him with his hat, coat and mittens they talked about how mittens keep our hands warm. The love between them was apparent. Then, as I paused to enjoy the interaction she sat down on the floor and without missing a beat he turned around and plopped into her lap and began to sing “The Wheels on the Bus.” It was clear that this is a moment he enjoys each day. I walked to my car thinking about how many things went right in this scenario and what I could take away from it as an educator and mom.
Thanks to this moment I will…
- try not to miss a “teachable moment.” The necessary routine of putting on cold weather gear was a chance for learning rather than an inconvenience. This is how children learn. They learn when it is real and when they feel safe and loved.
- let children know what to expect. This little man knew just what to expect. The routine was not rigid but was steady enough that he could look forward to singing a song and learning with his loved teacher.
- enjoy the wait time. Rather than “keeping him busy” while they were waiting the teacher took the moment to work on fine motor skills, vocabulary and other skills that she knows he is developing. She knows him well and cares about how he is doing. This made the wait time fun for the student and also made this time productive and valuable for the teacher. They were both happier after the interaction. Again, this certainly got me thinking about how often I feel like I should “occupy” my kids when we wait at the doctor’s office. For an older student, like my 3rd grade daughter this might mean a game to practice multiplication facts or a chance to talk about how things are going for her. These moments can be a chance for kids to open up and share their heart.
- love kids in action. The part of this interaction that was most striking was that without the student or teacher saying, “I love you” or even, “I like you” the message was clear. They were smiling and connecting. I want to ensure that every child that I talk with has the feeling that they are cared for. His eyes were glowing and as he began to sing I could tell that he felt comfortable, safe and loved. Her body language and tone as she helped with his mittens said that he is special to her.
Thank you Teacher. You and your student were a blessing to me today and changed me for tomorrow.
Director of Childcare and Education Services