This week I spent a day in a 3-year-old class as substitute teacher. It was a fun (and exhausting) time.
I'd forgotten how much fun it is to hear your name called over and over by small voices. (The kindergartners in my church class don't seem to call out so much.)
And I re-learned that 3s cannot do anything for themselves. Well, I mean those practical things. They cannot turn on the sink, open any food package, or (apparently) even put down the toilet seat. Again - a fun and exhausting day.
During our busy play and exploration time, one thing happened to remind me of an important point when teaching kids of any age. I was moving back and forth between the bathroom sink and the room sink, helping boys get their hands washed. Then I heard one of those small voices: "Mr. Scott, look! Mr. Scott, look!"
I looked. (I even took a picture.)
"Mr. Scott, look!" he said again. "Bubbles! Bubbles!"
"Yes," I said, "bubbles in the sink. That's what happens when we mix soap and water."
He smiled, rinsed his hands, dried them, and scampered off to explore something in the room.
My 3-year-old friend reminded me. Don't miss the obvious opportunities to marvel, wonder, and learn about the world. Yes, there were all kinds of materials to explore in the room, all kinds of ways to learn. But the soap bubbles in the sink were a learning (or at least marveling) opportunity. A wonderful experience worth sharing with a friend.
During the day, we talked about colors as we used dot painters or drove cars. We compared our foods during lunch. We looked at the leaves that accumulated underneath the tree on the playground. We talked about Mr. Scott's mustache and the bump on his neck. We counted how many arms and legs and noses and ears we each had. All things that just happened as we were playing or talking or doing whatever we had to do.
No matter which age group or what the learning experience - don't miss the obvious things that are all around you. Don't miss the wonder in the mundane.
You may just see something wonderful in a group of soap bubbles in a sink drain.
It was beautiful.