Friday, January 26, 2018

Just try again

The Gan is a garden where children bloom.
One way to blossom is through taking risks, and making "mistakes" (a hard moment to catch on film).
Maya didn't think she could write the letter "k," she discovered she could.
Morah Katie: Look at that, you tried and you did it.
Moshe spilled his water. 
Moshe: OH! It spilled.
Morah Katie: How can you solve it?
He solved the problem by drying the table with a towel.
Morah Katie: Thank you for solving that problem Moshe.

When it gets hard, my friends can choose to give up, or try again.
In our classroom "failing" is ok, as long as we look at what happened, explore why something failed, and try again. 

We find we only truly fail when we give up.
Eli: I bumped trying to get back up.
Morah Eden: Are you going to keep riding the scooter even though you fell?

Eli: Yes!
Lakshmi was adding 7 + 3 and her result was 12.
I mentioned when I added 7 and 3 I got a different answer and asked her to get the 7 bead bar and the 3 bead bar to show me her work.  
She chose the blue bead bar and the pink bead bar and began counting. She discovered the blue bar was 9. 
Lakshmi: I was counting too fast! I thought it was the 7. I have to get the 7 bar. Now I will get the answer I bet.  7 and 3 make 10!
I believe a child is capable and can achieve any goal he/she sets.
But if he/she lacks perseverance and does not make a second, or third (or multiple) attempts, he may never realize that goal. 
Evan and Rowen are working hard to learn to write their names.
 Matan was having a rough time fitting the puzzle piece.
Morah Jillian reminded him the frog puzzle can be a challenge and she had faith in his ability.
He chose to keep at it and eventually found the correct spot.
Miles was having a hard time finding the correct bead bar for his addition work, 
he took a small break and got back to counting and found the correct bar right away.
As the children take risks, experiment and make mistakes, they learn from those experiences and become more confident and skilled. 

They use those new skills and confidence to expand their experiences in the classroom such as building new friendships or trying a new fruit at snack. They will attempt a new activity and learn from new "mistakes".

At the end of each day, as I write my reflections of what went well and what could go better, I find that I am often reminding myself to "WAIT".

The teachers at The Gan work on telling ourselves to: Stop. Watch. Wait. See.
It can be challenging to follow through on this. When I sense I may be about to interfere, I ask myself a few questions:
  • What would happen if I refrained even from a redirection?
  • Do I need to be involved? 
  • What would happen if I just paused and observed?

When we pause, we are giving the child a chance to pursue his own course and succeed. 
I am not suggesting allowing the children to continue down a path that will lead to total discouragement and frustration.
I am suggesting we pause just long enough to observe the direction the children lead us: 
  • Are they creating solutions on their own?
  • Do they really need guidance or would a little struggle help their development in this moment? 

Why is it that I work to help my friends develop persistence? 
It is a skill they will need to succeed in life.
We will find our paths blocked and attempts thwarted. 
In fact, my path was thwarted this week. 
I was very excited to experiment with the fact that for every action there is a reaction.
We were going to explore this with a balloon rocket.
I had an expectation of what was going to happen, it did not go as planned.
I was so sad. 
Matan also knew what I was expecting.
Matan: Don't give up, just try again.
All the kids joined him and told me not to give up! To try again!
As we know at The Gan, if experiments don't go right the first time, we  try again. 
So with help, we did.

We are laying a foundation for our friends. 
They are learning to count and say their abc's in English and Hebrew. 

These young children are developing their attention spans and expanding their friendships.  
This is the time to help them develop the ability to "re-start" after experiencing a disappointment.  
To be able to preserve and overcome challenges will be key to their future successes whether theses will be riding a bike without training wheels, making new friends in kindergarten or simply trying something new in their preschool classroom.

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