I am often asked, "How do you do it?" My response is usually, "Which part!?" As the preschool teacher/caregiver/friend/cook/and all around daytime momma to several different personalities it can be a challenge at times to maintain a my frame of focus when I walk upon a HUGE unexpected mess. Sure...I expect messes...it goes with the territory, but sometimes I get a "surprise!" HA!!!
I wanted to share this little tid-bit because it is a "View You Can Use" and definitely a part of "What You Focus On You Get More Of!" This phrase was originally coined by Dr. Becky Bailey and is truth to the core. What you focus on you get more of. When my focus is on the mess I wasn't expecting and the interruption it brings to the day, I am focusing on a negative emotion and a result I cannot control. Kids WILL be messy...that's all a part of learning and is developmentally appropriate. It is EXPECTED. The key is to focus on what you want more of. Do I want them to not make messes? No...it's an expected part of learning. It means they are exploring, creating, and discovering their skills. Do I want them to help with the clean-up? Maybe, sometimes that is the goal. What do I want? I want LEARNING! I want EXPLORATION! I want CREATIVITY! I want DISCOVERY! I want meaningful connections each and everyday.
So...If our focus is on our children exploring their creativity, discovering and growing their skills, and being unafraid to try, and meaningful connection we must take each moment as it presents itself, we MUST welcome the messes and determine to celebrate them.
In this "View You Can Use," I have walked upon a bit of a unexpected mess. I was around the corner at the bathroom changing a diaper and when I walked back in (to inspect the source of the quiet! ;)) I discovered that a new game had been invented..."scatter the hundred bags!" I had a choice in that moment. I could have said, "Who did this?" "You know you aren't allowed to drag things out of the cabinets!" or "Time-out!" "You know you shouldn't have done this!" But...that would not be an appropriate response for a toddler. Actually, if I didn't want them dragging stuff out of the cabinets it is up to me to make certain that the cabinets are not a choice. Discovering, dumping, scattering, and enjoying the exhilaration of a "new" game IS appropriate. So...my response must also be.
I chose to create another "new" game with the bags. The "count and clean" game. I utilize this method to help the children have fun AND learn concrete counting while cleaning up. Yes, the little one doing the help is my little one and she had just departed the breakfast table with a full yogurt face. But, in an effort to make it as real time as possible, I just walked in, saw the mess, and hit "record." I hope you enjoy!!
It's my hope that the pages of this blog will inspire you, relax you, encourage you, reignite you, and help you remember why you entered this profession - the children.