Thursday, March 4, 2010

What about frisky friends?

One brief morning:
- He arrives with a large ball and tosses it to me, I toss back, he tosses it to me, I toss back, he roars with laughter and runs away.
- Throws ball across tower that friend is creating.
- Notices pegs on the manipulative table: ah! starts frenetically scattering them off their board, enjoying the noise of their clashing, continues to shake and scatter them to the floor
- Let's build a train track? No, let's throw train track pieces.
- Let's jump. Up and down, up and down, up and down.
- Over to playdough - grabs pieces from friend.
- Water table - not only splash it out of table, but let's drink from the table.
- Pendulums above science table - let's climb up on top of table and pull/grab those pendulums down.
- Let's throw fidget toys.
- Let's kick off shoes and grab off socks.
- Let's dump out kitchen toys, onto floor.
- Let's jump on bean bag.
- "Go away!" he screams to friends. He wants the bean bag to himself. His friends move away.

Ahhhh, frisky friends.

Nothing he has done particularly surprises me, I am used to expecting the unexpected from him.
I teach preschoolers.
We begin the year together with their ages ranging from 30- 42 months of age.
These are very little persons, rather “new” persons!
This I know for sure: I am going to have movers, shakers, "hard-to-land," intense little friends.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music which he hears,
however measured or far away.

- Henry David Thoreau

I remember the training I offered this past fall with my colleague, Lisa Schwartz, at the Potomac Association of Cooperative Teachers, "Frisky Friends: How Am I Supposed to Teach?" My script seems rather useless right now:

These children offer us our own ‘teachable’ moments – really, this should be the stuff we dream of; think:
“Wow, I have been given an opportunity to learn something new!”
Welcome the child. Help him/her discover the love of learning.
We can really push ourselves to think outside the box, stretch for something new to offer this unique being.

Put yourself in the child’s shoes. Imagine being the child.
Allow the child to have a warm and responsive relationship with you!
Shower them with love, affection, and positive interest.

- His next breath is a gentle voice, "Ms. Maureen, will you read me this?" It is The Boy Who Wouldn't Share.

We settle into the cozy chair and read.

One more point to add to my training script:

Learn to smile at the simple ironies of your day - here you are sitting cozy and comfy with your frisky friend and many of his classmates, reading a book about learning to be a friend. Usually I have to search for the special way to bring calm and order to the morning, but, today, he has found the key.

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