Unplanned teachable moments happen ALL the time in our little world. But one little lesson that I believe holds a significant amount of value is "repairing the broken."
It's so easy to want things to be black and white. It's tempting to want to apply a "one size fit's all" rule for everything.
If it's broken get rid of it.
I have been guilty of this. With 10 children in my mixed age, licensed childcare and preschool, it's EASY for things to become a bit less than perfect. With good intentions I often will put the broken aside on a "to be fixed" shelf, awaiting it's turn for repair, new batteries, a little tape, and sometimes the hopes of my graceful father to give me much needed advice on those things beyond my ability to understand and repair on my own.
And so they sit.....waiting.....
Then, after months of being on the "someday I will," I throw the broken...along with all my good intentions to the curb.
Then the questions begin, "Ms. Donna, why do you frow (throw) dat (that) out?" "Ms. Donna, where is 'such and such' toy?" "Mr. Donna, I wiked (liked) dat!!!" (no the Mr. isn't a typo!)
Those broken things had special meaning to the ones that loved them. Meaning that I didn't understand, but they did. They held memories, attachments, and yet to be uncovered potential that I had not realized.
Those responses do not trouble me as much, however, as the ones I begin to see in my older children. A toy breaks and they respond with, "It's broke!" "Throw it away!!" Instead of even asking or trying to fix the item, they assume that a tear, a misplaced doll arm, or slight blemish means the item is now worthless. THIS is the outcome of my rash actions that is concerning.
The attitude that imperfections, problems, loss of original purpose = trash.
Further, that everything is dispensable if it is no longer perfect.
It concerns me that my lack of follow through or quick decision making when a toy is broken to the point of being unsafe is so easy to throw away. I don't like seeing the resulting "unplanned teachable moment" of instilling life lessons into little hearts that could spell big trouble when real life problems arise and the determination of "worth fixing" is taken so lightly.
After all, play is simply children practicing for adulthood in a way that they can comprehend, right?!
How do we change this???
Instead of seeing what's broken, we determine to see opportunity.
It's a bit hard to tell what's happening in the above pictures. We received this sweet little book from Mother Goose Time. It was about a duck that needed help to get some creme for his hurt webbed feet and all the ways he tried to catch a ride. The children LOVED it. The problem....the third time we read the book, the binding fell apart and pages scattered on the floor. They are a great company and offered to replace it. "No....I like it just the way it is." I said.
The children squealed, "It's BROKEN!" "I don't want that book anymore! I HATE it!" (preschoolers have a way of wearing their tiny hearts on their sleeves when they feel scared or disappointed) "Frow it away!" "What if we fix it?" I said.
Ahhhhh....is that opportunity I hear knocking? Yes, yes, it is. I used this an an opportunity to teach the children that no matter how bad it looks, we can make it better by our choices. (Big lesson for little hearts.)
Out came the fix and out came the helpers. Tape rules in Pre-K world!
Each child insisted on taking turns helping once they saw what the tape could do. Once they understood HOW we were going to fix our problem AND that it really was working, they ALL wanted to take part. All they needed was to see it working...they needed a little understanding to WANT to make the effort.
PERFECTION in the imperfections....that's a wonderful feeling.
They had such a sense of pride in their accomplishments as an itty bitty team. They did a great job. Sure the book wasn't the same, pages were a bit out of order, nothing lined up quite like it had before, and it was certainly far from perfection, but they were beaming! We saved our book and it took it's proud place among our other beloved treasures....imperfections and all.
We can take the broken and make it better. We can handle imperfections. Life, and all it's challenges, doesn't have to be perfect to be worth it.
Isn't that what we want to teach them....even through our play?
As always, I wish you well and I hope you get to play today. - L
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com