Connecting With Children

Week One:

Tears.  Fears.  Smiles.  Worries.

Then laughing crept in, and hugging.  Children learned the routine and bonded with teachers.  They sang the ‘Days of the Week’ song on their own.  Parent goodbyes became quick.

In my ‘gazillion’ years of teaching, it always amazes me how quickly things shift in just a few days.  Children are resilient.

Here is the newsletter I sent to families at the end of Week One:

We had a wonderful first week of school!  In just a few short days, your children have connected with teachers and with each other.  It feels good.  It feels like we’re a family.  Children are belly-laughing, sharing stories, making friends, and finding comfort in the routine of the day.  There are so many little moments that bring us together- singing the Days of the Week song, listening to a Jennie Story at lunch, snuggling with Heidi and a book.

Perhaps the children said it best today,  We sang the Daily Schedule while looking at the cards on the chart.  The teacher asked each child which part of the day they liked best.  There were many answers, and we stopped to talk about each one- from playtime, to lunch, to outside play.  Finally it was said, “All of them!”  Everyone agreed.

Why is connecting so important?  In order to learn and focus, a child needs to be socially and emotionally comfortable.  In other words, learning to count or write happens after a child is ready and has connected.  It looks like the Aqua Roomers are well on their way to a great year of learning!

As the year goes on, there will be many ‘moments’.  They are the lightbulbs of discovery- from learning to write, to figuring out how to build, to becoming engrossed in our chapter reading.  Those ‘moments’ will occur because I have connected with children.  That happens (most often) at lunch and snack, eating together around the big table.

That’s when we become a family.

That’s when when children talk about their pets and their grandparents.  That’s when we have big discussions- like the moon or spiders.  Really, we have laughed and cried and debated together.  Thank goodness!

Here’s proof that it makes a difference:

A study was done in the 80’s to see if there was a common denominator among National Merit Scholars.  Surely they were all captains of sports teams or academic clubs.  Nope.  The one and only common denominator was that they had dinner together with their family at least four times a week.  Wow!

My connecting with children at school is a big win socially and emotionally, and also a big win academically.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five 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 was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in behavior, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, preschool, storytelling, Teaching young children and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Connecting With Children

  1. Ritu says:

    Wonderful, Jennie 💛

  2. Norah says:

    It definitely is a big win, Jennie. Great stuff.

  3. Sorry, Jennie! I forgot, but you are also back at school. It sounds a great start. Fantastic! Enjoy your weekend! xx Michael

  4. Ally Bean says:

    I had dinner with my parents every night and I became a National Merit Scholar. Suddenly I feel like a cliche. 😉

  5. Glad it’s going so well, but not surprised one bit! 😊

  6. quiall says:

    Learning to connect with others forms the foundation for the rest of their life. You do it so well.

  7. Darlene says:

    Connectedness is so important. Three cheers to you for getting them started so young.

  8. Jim Borden says:

    I think students and teachers want that connectedness at every level of education, even in college. It’s just as important as any academic material they are learning…

    three cheers for the Aqua Roomers!

  9. Dan Antion says:

    A big win, and a great start for these children.

  10. Kally says:

    I can so see your fist pumped into the air!

  11. Yes wonderful! Eating together. Thank you Jennie.

  12. A wonderful time of controlled chaos I’m sure Jennie. New connections and new experiences all around!

  13. The one thing I always insisted upon was sitting down to dinner every night. No telling how many tantrums and door slams were forgotten over the chicken and talk. Super post, Jennie.

  14. Jennie, after a “gazillion years,” it does sound like it is still so much fun for you to be able to see the classroom environment start to become more familiar and comforting to the new classmates as the days go on.🙂

  15. What an inspiring description of the conditions needed for lasting and meaningful learning to take place! I felt ready to start my schooling all over again as an Aqua Roomer.

  16. beth says:

    I love, love your letter, and all so true! here’s to yet another great year, Jennie

  17. petespringerauthor says:

    I’m sure the parents appreciate your letters. It’s quite a transition time for parents and children. Reassuring parents and letting them know their child is in loving hands must be comforting for them.

    • Jennie says:

      Interestingly, I don’t typically get feedback from parents, yet I’m sure they appreciate the information. I do think they feel reassured. Thank you, Pete.

  18. Such a huge step for many young children.. I know they are in the best possible hands of your tender loving care Jennie..

    My own Granddaughter last week left her junior school aged 11 to attend the Seniors new School…. A daunting day she said she shed tears of nerves to start with. But she said she soon made friends and has enjoyed her own first week in her new school…. They grow so fast Jennie… Good to know the next generation at your school is in such good hands.. ❤ ❤ ❤

  19. Don Ostertag says:

    Exciting start to a great school year.

  20. What a beautiful letter home, Jennie. I’ll bet the parents were thrilled. What a glorious time for families, and teachers make it all possible. Magic.

  21. It sounds like you’re on your way to having a marvelous school year! I’m looking forward to reading about the discoveries, milestones, and adventures you have along the way.

  22. godsgirllora says:

    This is so beautiful. I’m a kindergarten TA and I love seeing this happen. Children learning the routine and finding courage to do things independently. It is so beautiful to see how far they come from the beginning of the year till the end. I think your classroom sounds amazing💚

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you! I remember witnessing this same connecting when I first started teaching, and it was huge for me. You are well on your way to becoming a wonderful teacher because you ‘get it’.

  23. willedare says:

    Love this observation in particular: “Those ‘moments’ will occur because I have connected with children. That happens (most often) at lunch and snack, eating together around the big table.” Let’s all keep eating together!!! The musical trio I am part of spends almost equal amounts of time making music together and eating dinner together… THANK YOU for continuing to share your wisdom with all of us via your blog!

    • Jennie says:

      See, that connection from eating together seems so subtle, but it makes an enormous difference. I’m so glad you know that. Thank you, Will! I dearly love sharing my classroom experiences and wisdom. 🥰

  24. dgkaye says:

    A beautiful letter Jennie. I am so happy you’re on the mend and back in school! ❤

  25. Wonderful, Jennie. A quantum leap from the teachers’ attitudes when I was at junior school – and I think far removed from my childrens’ experiences too. Connecting – so simple, so effective.

    • Jennie says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head. Connecting is so simple and so effective. Children remember those moments. Yes, it is a far cry from yesteryear. Thank goodness.

  26. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is wonderful!

  27. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Please enjoy this wonderful post from the excellent teacher, Jennie!

  28. Hi Jennie, what a great way to start the new school year. A fabulous post.

  29. Debasis says:

    Nice post!💐🙏🏾

  30. lbeth1950 says:

    God bless you for all you did and shared

  31. Looks like another amazing year ahead Jennie with some very lucky children to have come under your wing ♥

  32. CarolCooks2 says:

    What a wonderful start for those little ones who have you to share their breaks and their day …a lovely post full of the joy of a new school year:) x

  33. As a parent about to send my kid to school next year, I felt this very much, and I hope my kid has a teacher like you 🙏

  34. bosssybabe says:

    As a parent of a new kindergartener, this makes me feel soo much better! 🙂 Charlotte had a bit of a glitch but things are looking up (I hope)!

    Also, I grew up in a house where family dinners were infrequent (in fact, we only ever ate together at a table when we dined out, and that was rare). Raising Charlotte, it’s one of our non-negotiables so far- we eat dinner together as a family. Before Charlotte came along, my husband and I also got into the habit of not eating in front of the tv and being off our phones during dinner time. It’s really helped us connect I bet!

    • Jennie says:

      Hooray! You are doing one of the best things you can do for Charlotte. My heart is full knowing your dinner time is family time. All those conversations mount up to social and emotional skills, and language development. Bravo!👏

  35. Carla says:

    I always loved the beginning of the school year for all the possibilities, new faces and experiences. I loved to encourage parents to talk to their children about their day and activities. Wishing you all the best for this new school year, Jennie.

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