Me: "You can have a couple of cookies."
Child: "That means 10, right?"
Define terms. Make sure everyone understands what you mean. Sometimes the words I use are confusing or not really understandable. Maybe I need to use specific terms rather than something general.
Child (looking at kids using the glue guns): "You're letting them use THAT?"
It's okay to try something unexpected and maybe a little risky. Everyone learns more and had fun discovering what to do and how to do it.
Child 1 (randomly opening the Bible): "Psalm 9:3. Keep your baby safe."
Child 2: "You can't REALLY read, right?"
Always clarify the situation. Too often I jump into a situation without clarifying what's happening. If a child seem frustrated with an activity, I want to solve it for him instead of offer some simple guidance that would help him think of how to solve it himself. After all, the one doing the work is the one learning. If I do the work of solving the problem, who is learning?
Child: "Sometimes my brain forgets stuff."
Allow for lapses in judgment. Sometimes a loud voice is just excitement. A flying block may be the result of a catapult and not a throw. I can redirect behavior and remind when things get rowdy. I don't need to overreact at misbehavior. Sometimes we just forget.
Child: "Take a picture of my building. Then you can put it on YouTube."
Technology is a part of our lives now. I can use it in appropriate ways to create resources, communicate with parents and kids, and connect with other teachers.
Child: "If you wanted to cut bamboo, you would need to use one of those...uh, things that look like a sword."
Don't be afraid to jump in and try something...even if you end up not knowing all the details. Have you ever created a game that got out of hand? (I just did that. But that's another blog post.) Have you sung a song or started an activity that somehow didn't end up like you planned? Don't try to plan every detail. Sometimes the surprises are wonderful. And sometimes they make great fodder for your blog so others can learn from it.
Child: "My favorite color is green. And yellow. And I like red. I like all the colors."
Keep your options open. Have you ever said, "I will never _____"? Or "I will always ____." Well, things change and adapt. I do have some non-negotiables. But those are broad foundations in my classroom. I've learned that, depending on the group of kids, the time of year, and my general mood, I'll do something that I vowed I'd never do.
Child: "Pray for my grandmother. She's 93 and she might die."
Teacher: "Has she been really sick?"
Child: "No, she's just old."
Accept facts. Preschoolers are noisy and move a lot. Sometimes they make messes. But they can help clean them up. They learn through doing and through experimentation. And they haven't been in the world for very long. Accept them as they are and go with it.
Child 1: "I haven't gotten any Valentines Day presents yet." (on Feb 13)
Child 2: "Tomorrow I'll make a heart and give it to you."
Child 1: "I'd rather have some candy...or a doughnut."
Be specific in your expectations. I try to communicate exactly what I want the kids to do. In cleanup, I specify the jobs I want a child to do. I give parameters but not too many rules. If something is really popular, I may need to say, "Five more minutes and then it's another friend's turn." Giving specifics helps the child understand exactly what I'm thinking. And helps keep everyone from being frustrated.
Child: "I can pick up my brother. He's 8 and I'm 5. He weighs 60 pounds."
Celebrate everything. We celebrate lost teeth...and teeth coming back in. We cheer when we have more boys than girls...and when we have more girls than boys. (Well, everyone may not celebrate each of those!) We talk about birthdays and new houses and new siblings. We clap when we remember details of a story. Whatever the day, something can be celebrated.