Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Let Them Be Kids

Sometimes I wonder what people think when they look inside my classroom. We make noise, voices and toys and sound effects. We move around a lot, sometimes flitting from one place to another. Sometimes I'm sure the room looks like a stomped on ant hill. (Sorry about that. I'm from Texas and now live in Tennessee; we say things like that in both places!)

In a conference I attended, Gigi Schweikert said that the things that can be irritating to teachers--moving around and touching stuff--are ways that kids are built to learn. In my classroom, I want to let kids be kids. They should be able to handle whatever is in the room. They should be able to be noisy and talk. They should be able to sit or stand or walk around as they choose.

Now, despite how it may look sometime, my room is not a free-for-all. We have limits to behavior--using materials appropriately, not hurting yourself or anyone else, respecting building and property. And we do have times when we all sit and are quiet (even if we'd rather not). When those limits are crossed, there are consequences. But, otherwise, kids can investigate and experiment with materials...discovering and adding to their understanding of the world and of the Bible.

I like my noisy, busy classroom. Sometimes we catapult blocks toward the ceiling or get paint on the table. But, with a little redirection, we get back on track. I expect kids to act in ways that are sometimes immature and sometimes a little off-kilter. Because that's what kids are. What are your expectations? Do you allow your kids to act like kids? How can you channel their natural tendencies to help them discover truths about the world and about God?

Photo posted on Flickr.com
Photographer: UnstoppableDrew

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