Monday, April 26, 2010

Long-Term View

Yesterday our children's choirs in church performed a musical. They did a great job. One of those choirs is the one that I help with. We've been working since January and it was good to see the realization of our work. This weekend was also the Music City Marathon in Nashville. (No, I did not compete.) As these two events rattled around in my reflective brain, I began thinking about teaching preschoolers and kindergartners. (Of course!)

Our teaching is a long-term project, a marathon. So many times I repeat a concept or a rule or just help with common courtesy. ("It's her turn to talk. We cannot all talk at the same time. No one can hear.") It seems that some kids will never "get it." It can get frustrating at times.

But I must remember that teaching young children is a marathon. I'm working to build foundations for future strong learning. That repetition is spreading the mortar and laying a brick in that child's knowledge. That repetition makes sure that the brick is secure and strong, that the mortar is smooth and cured.

Marathons are not won in the first mile; it's the continued pushing and steps that bring the finish line--and marathons are not won on race day but in all the steps of training and preparation.

Life and learning are not short sprints. Repetition and practice are musts for true learning...and true life occur. That's not always easy to remember, especially when you work and work and seem to get little or no visible results.

But when I see the light bulb go off for a child; when I hear a slight gasp and "Oh"; when a hear a child put pieces together to form a new understanding - I know I'm clocking another mile in the marathon. I will probably not be the one that helps that child cross the finish line on a particular point of learning, but I can help him along his route to it.

Photo from
Photographer: darkmatter


  1. Yes, I love seeing a child develop new understanding right before my eyes! I start directing my annual preschool musical on Monday, May 3. This will include a great deal of repetition and the children are so capable. This is one of my personal favorite things to do with the children.

  2. It's so true Scott. There is an old chinese proverb which reads ... "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". I often think of this when I witness a child who has struggled to conquer a task, finally make a break through which leads onto further success. I really like your analogy of the marathon too!
    Donna :) :)