It's my first year teaching kindergarten at The Harbour School. Last August, as I stepped into my new classroom with all the nervous excitement of any first year teacher, I was as ready as I would ever be for the challenge. I spent the summer organising, preparing and planning. My mind was full of ideas for lessons, activities and field trips. My thoughts consumed with what and how I would be teaching my class of little minds for the next academic year.
What I hadn’t expected though, were the lessons that my class would be teaching me. This has been the biggest, and most incredible surprise of all.
In 80 short days, my kindergarteners have reminded me of some of the most valuable life skills, that I confess, as a busy adult, I frequently lose sight of. I would like to share these lessons with you.
1. Be brave
There is a very special brand of fearlessness in kindergarten. As adults we take so many skills, so much prior knowledge and experience of the world for granted. We’ve forgotten long ago what it feels like to be experiencing everything for the first time. For our early learners, every day is a work in progress. Being brave enough to “just try” something new, with a smile on our face, is not as easy as it looks, but the results are always worth it.
2. Be sorry
As young learners it’s only natural that mistakes are made, accidents happen and sometimes we fall out with our friends. But during these moments is also where our learning happens. When we say sorry in kindergarten, we are accepting the lesson learnt and letting go of the misunderstanding so we can move onto the next adventure together.
3. Take your time
Adults are always rushing, rushing to get things done, rushing to meet deadlines and move on to the next challenge. Kindergarteners understand the value of stopping, of taking a moment to ponder and to really think about an idea. There is no rush to understand everything all at once. Understanding will always come, but enjoying the thinking process is a valuable journey in itself.
4. Ask for help
If you’re not sure about something, ask for help. It’s simple and in kindergarten this is how it’s done. A no-nonsense approach to problem solving, that just makes sense. There is no fear or stigma attached to asking for help. Why would anyone expect you to know how to do something that you’ve never done before?
5. Be silly
Sometimes, for no other reason than that it feels good. Take a moment to dance like a mad thing, to laugh so loud and hard your belly hurts, to really let go. Everything seems to make a bit more sense afterwards.
Every day really is a school day, not just for the students at THS, but also for the teachers too. I would like to thank my incredible class for reminding me how to find the best version of myself, and for making me a better teacher every day. Next time you’re stuck on a challenge, take a moment to ask yourself, “What would a kindergartener do?” The answer might surprise you.