Saturday, November 13, 2010

Listen Up!

This week I was reminded of two important truths. First, a story.

We were cleaning up and preparing to assemble for a group learning time. "O" was close to me and had finished his tasks. "O, we need 11 chairs," I said. "Could you help me make sure we have the right number of chairs in the group?" We continued to go about our work, cleaning and assembling chairs. We gathered all the unused chairs but only had 9. Some chairs were still in use as girls finished at the art table. "Come and sit down," I told kids. "We'll get 2 more chairs when the girls come to the group." Kids gathered and sat. I talked with them about what they had been doing and so forth. I noticed "O" hovering between the group and the art table. As soon as the girls finished and moved away from the art table, he scooped up 2 chairs to bring to the group. I smiled at his persistence.

As I reflected on this later, two key reminders popped into my head. First, kids want responsibility and take responsibility seriously. O was going to complete the task that I had given him. Like everyone, some younger kids are more persistent in their tasks than others. O seems to be a more focused boy than some of the others I have. But all the kids in my class can accept responsibility and fulfill important tasks. I need to make sure I'm giving that opportunity to them.

Second reminder, kids listen to my words. When I gave O that task, I did want him to help. But my comment to him was almost off-hand, not really thought out, just spontaneous. But he listened. I should make sure my words are ones that I want kids to hear. Often I joke with the kids, saying silly or fun things. That's fine; it's a part of our class culture. But I need to make sure whatever I say are words I want kids to hear, repeat, and remember.

I am so thankful for kids like O...who keep teaching me and reminding me what a wonderful and awesome task I have as a early childhood teacher.


  1. You are right Scott - kids are very literal in their thinking and processing and it is important to say what we mean and be sensitive if their is not much flexibility in the way the children process what we say. Great reminders and example to share with us!

  2. That's awesome, Scott. It's true...when I think of my own childhood memories, they are few and far between. So I always think "what if this is that one thing they remember about this day?" This thinking helps me choose my words wisely : )

  3. Thank you for your comment on my blog today, Scott. So glad I was able to follow you back to yours! I've added you to my blog roll.

  4. Good reminder Scott ... thanks!
    Donna :) :)