Roots and Wings…and Thunderstorms

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Last evening I was outdoors with my husband and our adult daughter watching the big thunderstorm rumble into our yard.  We were all enjoying the anticipation as well as the storm itself.  I asked my daughter what memories popped into her head whenever she heard a big storm.  She replied, “Camp, of course!  We had nothing else; no TV, no computer, just the outdoors.  Thunderstorms were great!”  Funny thing.  This was the same experience with me as a child at camp.

We talked about exciting and adventurous experiences in our childhood, and about childhood itself.  We analyzed why children feel the way they do, and what is it that ‘makes a difference’ when they grow up.  One thing kept ringing loud and clear.  Children who are given experiences that challenge them, who are encouraged to take a chance and ‘do it’, and who have the firm love and support of their family, seem to grow up with a good, strong sense of self.

Roots and wings.

In my classroom I approach each learning experience and activity, planned or unplanned, as an exciting opportunity.  We are a family.  We help each other, support each other, and encourage each other.  We provide roots for each other with daily routine, tenderness, and a positive, fun attitude.  We give each other wings when we learn how to write our name, pump a swing, stand in front of a group to talk, or try something new.

Roots and wings.

Remember, it’s all the little experiences, over and over again, that we build upon.  It’s not the big things that make a difference.  Dancing with painted feet, coming to school at night and singing in the dark, shopping in a real Indian market, painting to classical music, setting up nap mats for other children, finding a new place on our big map with the magnifying glass, reading all the name cards without help… it is the culmination of all these activities, and many others, that make the difference.

I hope that in years to come, children and their families sit through a thunderstorm together, walk through the woods together, or sing in the dark together, and find it is an experience that is exciting.  I hope that my Aqua Room classroom, and all we have done together as a group, has helped to give children the experiences to feel a happy and confident sense of self.

Roots and wings.

Jennie

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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20 Responses to Roots and Wings…and Thunderstorms

  1. M. L. Kappa says:

    Roots and wings!!!!

  2. Tanya Cliff says:

    The last big power outage that we had, we lit candles around the room and had a big indoor picnic, complete with storytelling on a blanket on the floor (a forced “roots and wings”)…until the power came back on and ruined it all…Lol.

    I loved the post!

  3. Marie says:

    Jennie, I can’t tell you how excited I am to receive your posts in my inbox. Every time I see one come in I stop what I am doing to read it through. This one nearly brought me to tears. Roots and Wings are something that we talk about a lot in our house and something that I pray we can give to our kids. Thank you for your ever thoughtful, ever inspiring posts.

  4. search126 says:

    Jennie, I can’t tell you how excited I am to receive your posts in my inbox. Every time I see one come in I stop what I am doing to read it through. This one nearly brought me to tears. Roots and Wings are something that we talk about a lot in our house and something that I pray we can give to our kids. Thank you for your ever thoughtful, ever inspiring posts.

  5. Lovely post. The balance of roots and wings is a perfect way to put it. Thunderstorms are great memories for me too 🙂

  6. Mike says:

    I wholeheartedly agree! Children need real experience to prepare themselves for a real life. Let them feel reel mud squishing between their fingers and toes, let them taste peaches and tomatoes they grew and picked themselves.

    We adults need to remember what it’s like to be a kid again — a real kid, rather than a prisoner of the iPhone and Game Boy.

  7. Grandtrines says:

    Reblogged this on Still Another Writer's Blog.

  8. I like a good power outage once in a while, particularly if it’s a mild spring or fall day. Childhood always seems like a much longer time period than it actually was, maybe because we lived in the moment rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Great thoughts about roots and wings for all the lucky students you’ve taught.

  9. Such an uplifting post. We watch thunderstorms as a family on our porch. Making memories :). Roots and wings, love it!

  10. reocochran says:

    You definitely are on the “roots” end of things as a teacher, as I see your establishing all the solid foundation blocks to make a solid difference and meaningful starts to roots of a lifetime. My Mom as a HS teacher, I felt, created the “wings” which are quite important and challenging. There is a lot of resistance if the student doesn’t have the core “roots” background which can be “tapped.” Keep on truckin’ along with all the various directions you are planting in these children’s brains and souls, Jennie. ❤

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Thank you, Robin! And, I will keep on truckin’. I love giving children the roots, as your mom loved giving young adults their wings.

      • reocochran says:

        Guess what? You give them “wings,” too. ❤ I am not sure if I meant to make this so "either/or" Jennie!
        Just as "roots" still need planting throughout our lives. . .
        I promise it was not intentional.
        I was talking through a blog to a New England blogger. I told her I remembered a perfect late summer book: "Blueberries for Sal," by Robert McClosky. I think it is a sweet story. My 16th summer in Rockport, Mass my great aunt and I went blueberry picking. The book still "speaks" to my sentimental self. Hope you are having a wonderful August. I value our friendship and thank you very much for so many warm comments about the Ashley, Ohio art mural.

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