It ain't easy being little. It's the force of teen-age emotion vacuum -packed into a pint-sized package and baby sometimes she's just gotta' BLOW!
This is normal. This is toddler-hood. This is WHY we take an entire month at the beginning of our school year to focus on feelings and friendship.
It gives us the skills, the vocabulary, and the beginnings of habits in acting and reacting to stressors, situations, circumstances, and schedules that may be out of our control.
This is true for both the child and the teacher. We practice these skills as the adults. We Stop, Take a deep breath and Relax (S.T.A.R. - www.consciousdiscipline.com) when the poo hits the fan (you think I'm joking about the poo? Okay...maybe a little joking!!) We sing a song and sit down for a story break when everyone is beginning to climb the walls. (Diversion, singing causes deep breathing, re-framing our focus)
We speak with kindness to the littles in our care and to one another as teachers regardless of the busyness or stresses of the day (lead by example...little eyes are always watching!).
You see...when your 3, everyday is Monday. It's "Monday" because it's fresh and new filled with endless curiosity, wonder, and experiences.. It's "Monday" because all the tenacity, turmoil, and energy is takes to be 3, keeps the teacher reachin' for her cup o' joe!
So.....how do we support, teach, and train young children to have the coping skills necessary for life? Why is a focus on feeling and friends so important?
In preschool "Self Concept" is created as a child becomes "Self Aware."
"Although forming one's self-concept is a lifelong process, how the child feels about himself in the early years (positive or negative) can set a pattern for the rest of his life."http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/ages-stages-how-children-develop-self-concept
Habits...patterns...this is they why we focus so heavily on building the positive self-talk, vocabulary, and behavioral patterns for our children. It's because these patterns will carry them through childhood, adolescents, and adulthood.
This requires intentional teachers. This means anticipating the needs of the child. The need to practice conflict. The need to tantrum. The need to be held and snuggled and reminded, "You are safe. You can handle this." These are the necessary tools to help the child understand his/her emotions and how to express them safely to himself and those around him. This is the stuff a resilient child is made of. The kind of stuff that produces resilient adults.
We use Mother Goose Time and Conscious Discipline as we PLAY!
We read stories about conflict, problems, and how to solve them. We read and practice as real conflicts occur.
We give them choices as a means to explore new skills. "Was that helpful or hurtful?" is often heard in our classroom. "What is his face telling you?" and referring to our "Emotions" chart from Mother Goose Time is another helpful way to engage children in determining if, in fact, their action toward a friend was "helpful or hurtful."
We play turn based games that go along with the books we read like the one below from Mother Goose Time that help children to understand that taking turns is fun, their turn is coming, and to practice patience.
We consider ourselves a "school family" that loves, cares for, and sees the best in one another.
Through our circle times we provide "uniting activities that are designed for everyone to do together and help develop a sense of belonging."
Through singing, reading and telling stories, and allowing children a "safe place" to unwind after conflict we "disengage stress to teach children how to calm themselves when they are upset."
Through games, centers time, inside and outside play we engage in "connecting activities that provide opportunities for children to interact with each other, which builds healthy friendships, increases attention span, and fosters cooperation."
Through consistency in boundaries, conscious and loving discipline we show "commitments, the final component to the school routine, to teach children to make and follow through on pledges to keep their classroom safe and take responsibility for their actions."
All of this in a day of play at Woolsey Academy!
I wish you well and I hope you get to play today!!
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