Today I want to share an observation from Mike Graham, one of our educators at Frog Hollow, and remind us of the importance of Being Present.
As educators in early-years centres and school-age programs, we are left with many different kinds of responsibilities; from providing diaper change and bottle-feeding, to getting engaged in conversations and play, to designing curriculum and connecting with parents and grandparents.
Sometimes when we find ourselves within large groups of children, it is difficult for us to remember one of the most important elements of relationship-making that can help us so much with our every-day work: being present!
As educators, we must make time to notice children’s ways of living, we must be able to be patient and we must be able to be responsive to children’s sense of wonder, spontaneity and joy. To do this, we must practice to be at peace with what goes on in our surroundings, to let go of the past and the future and focus entirely on the present, and to clear our mind of what may happen next or what we had planned before and join the moment, embracing it fully.
The reading below is from Mike, an educator in Kidsworld School Age Program with 76 children ages 5 to 12. I encourage you to reflect on this reading as you think about how this educator is being present with children and with the moment and how this influences the culture and the relationships in his program.
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
– Rachel Carson
Being Present – Mike’s reflection
Yesterday afternoon as we were in the process of preparing a group to play outside, the rain clouds had other ideas. In the blink of an eye the clouds unleashed the rain, fast and furious.
As the group noticed the showers outside they immediately began stating they were no longer interested and began finding other interests within the rooms.
However, I noticed Matthew still standing by the sliding Preschool doors watching outside. As I moved towards him with two chairs in hand I asked “What has caught your attention Matthew?”
Matthew: “It is really raining out! It is like the sky is really crying.”
Educator: “I wonder what we would notice about the rain if I opened the sliding door and we just watched it for a while.”
I placed the chairs for us to sit and watch the outside and slid the patio door open. I sat with Matthew and observed as he began to make his discoveries.
Matthew: “Look! Look at the splash the rain drops make!”
“The drops are dancing along the fence!”
“Hey look…when the drop falls in the puddle it leaves a bubble.”
His exuberant discoveries began to draw some others over and soon we had about 10 children around us watching the rain.
And then came the question from one…“Mike, can we play out there in the rain?”
Understanding the opportunity at hand I wasn’t about to deny them.
Play, explore, experiment, discover, even get wet…in the rain!
And soon after, the raindrops weren’t the only thing dancing in the puddles.