February 2, 2022 | Kristen Jordan
The snowy days in the park have been spectacular!
As we have looked around the classroom and watched children putting all of their winter gear on to get ready for the park, we have been amazed at how independent the children have become.
Children are persistent in working really hard to put all of their gear on by themselves! Earlier in the year, some children would give up trying or groan in frustration if they couldn’t put something on. Now all children try first, and then if they still need help, they use words to say “Will you please help me with my mitten?”
Watching children get ready is such incredible evidence of how much the children are growing not only at putting on snow gear, but in so many different ways.
We get very few requests for help with opening snacks because children are trying on their own–successfully!
The children are independent in the bathroom, at cleaning up and packing up, at knowing where to be at different times during our day.
Children are making decisions with conviction about where they want to work and have been demonstrating confidence, competence, and independence as they work. “I want to go to drawing.” “I am going to draw a spider!”
We had a discussion about how we are all still growing and learning and that not everyone knows how to do the same things.
Children shared what their bears are still learning how to do. This list included:
How to be strong
Saying please and thank you
Picking up books
And then we talked about how children might be able to help someone who is still learning to do something. They suggested:
Holding their hand
Cheering them on when they do something
Remind them to use words
Children are developing in their ability to think about how to help one another as they interact.
Children may not always feel comfortable sharing, or be able to recognize the things they need to work on, but their bears can help them to understand that everyone is still working on something!
Children’s conversation skills are also really developing. After having a conversation about what the bears are working on, on another day the children shared some thoughts about how they have grown themselves. We heard about many children who brush their teeth on their own, or with a bit of help from a parent, but some children said they do not brush their teeth by themselves. It was great for children to feel comfortable sharing with each other, and hear that not everyone is doing the same things.
We celebrate one another’s successes, like when someone is able to put on their mittens for the first time, or when a child builds a strong structure or remembers to ask for help. Those gestures encourage persistence, while they also help build relationships and kindness.
The children’s relationships with one another have grown as well. A particular area where we have witnessed a great deal of growth is in the language children are using in interacting with others. We hear children using more and more language with one another.
“Can I play with you?”
“Your drawing is beautiful!”
“Can I help you?”
“I like your dress!”
“Thank you and happy birthday!”
“Can I have a turn?”
Our hope for all children is that they feel connected, competent, and capable throughout the day. We also hope for children to know and understand that they are all still learning how to do things and we can all be supportive of one another through this process!
Sometimes it takes reflecting on a daily routine like putting on snow gear to prompt thinking about how much children are growing in so many other ways!