Saturday, February 7, 2009

Connecting to the Bigger Picture

Recently, I had the opportunity to view the various pieces of documentation collected within our three campus earlychildhood classrooms, as well as in two other sites that our university students participate in as they complete their student teaching. The students had two assignments...First, to capture and display an "Ordinary Moment" that truely depicts the learning that children engage in without direct planning from the teachers. The second, to share everything that they had learned about the children after spending three weeks with them in a classroom. As we visited each classroom (the whole group of student and lead teachers learned about and questionned the experiences going on within each room), I was struck by the knowledge gained about the children when the teachers were charged with truely focusing on learning about them. A future blog posting will share more about the concept of "Ordinary Moments," but for now, let me say that it is truely amazing what you can learn about the children in your care, when you step back, listen, and watch. It is worth it!! I challenge you to take a week or two and simply focus on learning more about the children and how they are playing. Of course, you must take care of immediate needs, but try to make a concentrated effort to simply listen and learn. When the children talk to you, reflect their statements back to them and see what else they might contribute. If they are actively engaged in play without talking to you, please...let them continue in their play, uninterrupted. You will be amazed at what you learn!