“Yet” has quickly become one of our favorite words this year. It’s the most powerful word in my classroom. As children learn and grow, it is a constant process of trying, over and over again. Saying “Practice makes perfect” can make a child feel gloomy or frustrated, especially if the task at hand is difficult. Learning to pump a swing, hold a pencil and write letters, or connect a puzzle isn’t easy.
That’s where “yet” comes in. When a child says, “I can’t”, we follow through with, “You can’t…yet. If you keep practicing, you can do it.” It puts a positive spin on learning and trying, and it works!
Recently, “Gloria” was the Helper of the Day. She struggled with recognizing the numbers on the calendar. She was becoming very sad and upset. Finally, she yelled out, “I can’t” and hung her head. Well, children jumped into action. Suddenly, there was a flurry of hugs and shouts of, “Gloria, you can’t yet. Keep practicing. We can help you.” Lucca said, “How about she holds a lovey and tries?” Allie said, “Gloria, if you do that song in your head, you can use that and do it all over again.”
The song Allie is referring to is from Sesame Street. We sing it all the time. Music really does cement learning. It cements feelings, too.
Everyone helped Gloria. For those of you who do not know Gloria, she is my beloved classroom puppet. She is very real to the children, as she has the same fears and tears that they have. She is… well, different. Aren’t we all different? Gloria is a model for acceptance, diversity, and kindness. It’s not surprising that the children reached out to help her when she said, “I can’t.”
A few months ago, Jayden asked me to play a particular song on the auto harp, one I had never played before. That required reading the score, and plenty of hard work. Finally, after ‘messing up’ many times in a row, I said, “I can’t do this.” Jayden replied, “You can’t YET.” He was right! With a little more practice, I was able to play the song. The power of yet.
Our school-wide theme is Watch Me Grow. With all the activities we do to help children grow, “Yet” has become the single most popular and effective word this year. I asked children to tell us what they are working hard to do, but cannot yet. Check out this list for their answers, from buttoning, to riding a two-wheel bike, to reading. The power of yet. Yes, we can!