Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Power of Hi-What I Learned In PreSchool

Working in a preschool has taught me so much And empathy and patience and mindfulness and so much more.

I'm not exagerrating when I tell you that it's truly made me a better person. I actually think it's not a terrible idea for all of us to spend a little time in a preschool (whether you have kids or not). The pace isn't for everyone and neither is the mess. But the smiles, the sweetness, the simple ways they love, the things they get so excited about, the's all amazing and hopeful and life affirming. Watching the kids work out their issues with each other and helping to faciliate it is also pretty cool. No joke. 

There's so much I want to say about preschool and how much I love it and have learned from being an assistant teacher. So, I'm going to share a few of my stories from preschool here on my blog over the next couple months. 

Here is a story about how we communicate. How smiles and eye contact and kindness all more than ever. 

In the preschool that I work in there are several children that don’t speak English. When I first started, I couldn’t imagine how in the world this was going to work. I mean how were these kids going to understand and know the routine and be able to participate and feel safe and happy? One little boy speaks Turkish and just turned 3 when he started school. On the first day of school his mom dropped him off and waved good-bye. He cried, and cried and cried. Even as we sang our very jolly welcome songs and told the kids that it was play time, he cried.  

I walked over to him and looked him in the eye and smiled. I got down on my knees and took his hand in mine. “Hi,” I said. “It’s going to be okay.” I kept smiling. I kept holding his hand. We walked through the routines and transitions together. I stayed by his side that whole first day. And actually every day for the first week. But then he came in one day, waved to his mom and walked over to me and took my hand and said “hi.” Then he started to play alongside other kids in the classroom.

That “hi” was huge. With that “hi” I knew a connection was made.   

Over the last few months, this little boy has made friends, had fun and learned a little more English. Every time he is uncertain or overwhelmed or frustrated with not being able to find the words, he looks at me with that same frightened face he had on the first morning of school. And just like that morning, I walk over to him, look him in the eye, smile and say “hi” and then I tell him “it’s going to be okay.”

I share this story because I think it’s about how communication isn’t just all the talking we do. And boy, there's a whole lot of talking going on in the world. But I'm not so sure there's a whole lot of connecting. Working with these kids in preschool has taught me the power of eye contact and smiling and being calm and truly connecting. And the power of "hi."

Love this song. Not so preschool-y and kind of somber but hopeful too, and just what I'm feeling about some stuff right now.

(click here to watch the video)

I've always loved this classic song. I try to do this everyday....

(click here to watch the video)

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