The Things Children Say

Children’s comments and questions range from curious to humorous.  Young children are unbridled, and anything involved with learning and exploring has a question; that’s why the things they say are quite wonderful.  As I sorted through oodles of paperwork this month, organizing and getting ready for the new school year, I found notes I had taken on things that children said.  They are three and four years old.

Many of my notes centered on chapter reading, things we needed to stop and talk about, and eager questions about vocabulary words.  Chapter reading is different than reading a picture book, as children have to process the words and make the pictures in their head.  This is initially difficult for children, yet within a week they are ‘hooked’, glued to the story and eager to hear the next chapter.  Listening comprehension comes before reading comprehension, so all those words in chapter reading are building vocabularies, attention, and a love for reading.

Jacob loved Charlotte’s Web.  When we read about Templeton at the fair, he asked “What does ‘vanishing into the shadows’ mean?”

Collin loved Charlotte’s Web.  When we read “…into the wonderful midway where there would be no parents to guard them and guide them…” he said, “Jennie, that’s just like ‘God Bless America’.”  He was right.  He associated ‘guard them and guide them’ with the song.  Collin was processing language and using it beyond the story.

Samantha loved Little House on the Prairie.  We learned about rivers, and found the Verdigris (among others) in our big map book.  She said, “Laura and Mary crossed the Missouri”.  Yes, she remembered that from chapter reading.

Corinne loved My Father’s Dragon.  When I asked the class how the dragon will get the treasure chest out of the hole with his tail, Corinne said, “Leverage”.

Sloane loved My Father’s Dragon.  When Elmer learned the names of all the brother and sister dragons, Sloane asked “What will he call the the Mom and Dad?”  No one has asked that question in over twenty years.

Jacob got the humor in Mr. Popper’s Penguins and belly laughed when Mr. Popper was on the telephone, inquiring about getting a license for Captain Cook.   Every sentence in the chapter sparked a new round of laughter.

Children and science are intertwined.  Emma told us,”When the sun goes down it goes to another part of the the earth”.  Maggie said, “Look at the sky.  It has pink clouds and a crescent moon”.  Cameryn said, “If you see some sun and some clouds, that means partly cloudy”.  Mohin looked at a teacher’s water at lunch and asked, “How did bubbles get into your water?”

Sometimes children just say something funny, or kind, or remarkable.  James was the Helper of the Day and did a great job finding numbers on the calendar.  I said, “James, are you really in Kindergarten?”  He said, “No, I’m in Massachusetts on Birch Lane.”  Jakob said, “Jennie, I miss my mom.  Do you miss your husband?”   Collin said, “My mom’s not old.  She’s skinny.”  After playing with flour Alma said, “I just need to get this cauliflower off my head.”  Tommy looked at a star pin I was wearing and said, “You have a star like the flag of China.”  Samantha looked at newborn robins on the playground and said, “When I grow up I am going to be a veterinarian so I can help birds like these when they are sick or hurt.”  I have no doubt that she will.

My favorite quote is from Olivia, looking at a picture of the Mona Lisa when we studied art and France.  She said, “I know her!”


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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2 Responses to The Things Children Say

  1. Sarah Belcher says:

    This brought a smile to my face! I am constantly amazed and often amused by at the things children say 🙂 I have a place to record what my own children and those I work with say. It is wonderful to see their language growth and to be able to appreciate what is happening in their heads. Here’s to another great school year ahead! Looking forward to continuing to read your posts Jennie!

  2. Hazzard, Jane says:

    My granddaughter Julia categorizes women by their weight: old ones are fat, young ones skinny.

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