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Open to Possibilities

Posted by on in Early Childhood
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blocks and basket (Brick by Brick)

I take a lot of photos. Often I will look back through the photos...and I'm reminded of things. I see things that I forgot happened. Recently, I came across the photo above. As I look at it, several things come to mind.

  1. Many things happen in a classroom each week. I forget most of them. A remark or a shared activity will often come to my mind. But often I forget about moments - big and small - without reminders. I need to take photos and/or write down things to remember the great things that happen.
  2. Lots of learning happens in the classroom each week that isn't planned, at least planned by me. These will also probably not be remembered individually but become part of the foundational knowledge in the child's learning.
  3. Children are creative. They see everything as a possible resource for what they are doing.

This last one is something that I've thought about before. Kids are open to all kinds of possibilities; anything is possible.

And this photo reminds me again that I put limits on my thinking so often. A basket is for holding things. I don't consider it as a possible building item. If I were working in a blocks center and needed something for the top of my building, I would have overlooked this basket. It doesn't fit my definition of building item. But my friend saw it, decided to try it, and figured out how to use it in his structure.

We do the same for children. We see them in a particular light or through a particular lens. We try to figure out how they tick and interpret everything by our conclusions. "She's quiet. She won't be interested in doing this." "He is active. He will not sit down to do that." And so forth.

But at this age...well, at just about any age...anything is a possibility. With encouragement or freedom or availability, children will do things that are completely different from our expectations. I've seen the quiet child loudly and actively engaged in a game. I've seen the active child quietly absorbed in a book or art project. We are often too quick to categorize or label or conclude. I must remember that anything is a possibility.

My classroom should be a place of possibility. Materials should be available to be used and transformed. I must be ready to say yes to different ideas. I must be open to the possibilities that come easily to young children.

I need that openness in my own life in my current journey. I tend to label certain actions or types of situations as "teacher" and discount or overlook others. I see myself as good at certain things or able to do other things and not see beyond these limited definitions. Maybe this photo needs to be on my desk or bulletin board to remind me to think in different ways and try out other ideas. To be ready to take on something different. To be open to what is right in front of me.

After all - it's early childhood education. Anything is a possibility. 

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Scott has been an early childhood educator for 30 years. He has been a preschool center director and preschool ministry leader in a church. He has taught elementary school. He developed and edited curriculum for a religious publisher for 15 years. Currently, Scott is a freelance curriculum writer and editor, a workshop leader, and a school volunteer. In addition to his blog, Brick by Brick, he writes for the collaborative blog Pre-K and K Sharing (http://prekandksharing.blogspot.com) and works as editor for Pre-K Pages (pre-kpages.com).

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Guest Wednesday, 22 November 2017