Transition times are tricky for both teachers and children, especially when spring arrives. Children seem to ‘feel it in their bones’, and are constantly on the move. Spring is definitely an awakening. Teachers observe this every year and foster all the discoveries and exploring that transpires, typically with movement. Yesterday we were transitioning from the Big Room to our classroom. I noticed a few children looking sad or hurt. I stopped. This was the result of children being too wiggly, and not being aware of others around them. Feelings had been hurt. I gathered the children together on the tiny rug, the one by the French doors with sunlight streaming in.
Once we sat down I said, “Do you know what happens when you’re born?” in a voice that was holding a BIG secret answer. Every child wants to know what happens when they’re born.
“You think about you. You love you. It’s wonderful.” Pause
“Then you grow. And you think about you and your Mom and your Dad. It’s wonderful.” Pause
“Then you grow again. And you think about you, your Mom and Dad, and your brothers and sisters. It’s wonderful.” Pause
At every pause I raise my hands higher, as if I am demonstrating a flower growing. I hug myself each time I say it’s wonderful. The anticipation of what comes next has the children completely focused.
“Then you grow again. And you think about you, your Mom and Dad, your brothers and sisters, and your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and your whole family. It’s wonderful.” Pause
“Then you even grow again! And now you think about your Mom and Dad, everybody in your family…and you start school and think about your friends. It’s wonderful.” Long pause
“I want to tell you something wonderful about you.”
I did just that, looking directly at each child. From, “You have the best smile in the whole world” to “You will make the best big sister in the whole world.” each statement was true and heartfelt. The children knew that. I even stopped at my co-teacher to tell her she was one of the best teachers I’ve had the privilege working with. There was something special about every child, and I announced that to everyone.
So, what happened here? The affirmations were more than pleasurable for children. They were grounding. Much like a spring seed, those words were the sun and the rain to help them grow. Hearing the words aloud also helped children step outside of themselves and recognize that their classmates are pretty terrific, too. We all have something special, and I was able to capture a moment that could have turned into a difficult transition.
The little things are far more important than the big things. Often it’s the little things that are really the big things. This conversation was better than anything I could have planned. Spontaneity and emergent curriculum at its best.