Monday, July 13, 2015

Outside the Comfort Zone

As I have mentioned before, my word for this year is YES. Recently I've been given opportunities to do things that I've not done before or that push be outside of what I think I do best. The thoughts of these things have made me feel uncomfortable, uneasy. My immediate reaction to these has been to say no, to run and hide, to withdraw.

It's not that I feel I cannot do these things. It's that they are new and I feel uneasy about them. I might not be good at them. I might fail. Or I might need to access areas that are not as developed. I feel uncomfortable about these situations.

story box for writing (Brick by Brick)
Story Box
But is that a bad thing? Is moving outside the comfort zone to be avoided? Or approached with caution? I don't think so. (By the way, I did say YES to the above-mentioned opportunities. I'll let you know what happens.)

Sometimes I'm too comfortable. I do familiar activities in familiar ways. I know what my group of kids like and choose that. I look at what I have stored in my garage and choose from that.

Hammer painting for preschoolers (Brick by Brick)
Hammer Painting
When instead I could choose something unusual, something different, something that would push me and the kids to grow and adapt.

I have often said that we need to choose activities that match the interests and likes of our kids. And I do that. But I also think we need to push them a little. Find things that may not "match" exactly. Make them a little uncomfortable so they can try new things.

gym dramatic play center (Brick by Brick)
Dramatic Play: Gym
Now, I don't advocate going all wild and crazy, totally changing everything, bringing out odd things that kids have no connection to.

Stick puppet theater for preschoolers (Brick by Brick)
Stick puppet theater
But rearranging a few of the things once in a while can make things fresh. Or help kids make different connections. Putting away a familiar center and bringing out something new will immediately push kids to try new things or move to different areas.

A little discomfort can make new insights. A little push can lead to a leap in learning.

P.S. One of those "new" things is being a guest on a Twitter chat. On August 4, I will be the designated guest on #teacherfriends. They (We) meet Tuesdays, 9:00 PM EDT. I'd invite you to participate tomorrow night and every week.

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