One of the best things about working as a parent educator is getting to tuck away little phrases and perspectives from experienced teachers. Even returning to the same classrooms, year after year, the kids change and so the tools that we use to support children change as well. A phrase I've been struck by this year is used daily, probably multiple times a day by one of my beloved teaching colleagues is: moving forward.
Moving Forward. It sounds simple but it's not something I find most of us do naturally. We want to sit in our sadness, remembering how things went wrong. This teacher suggests moving forward when a child forgets their sharing item and is feeling sad, when there isn't time to sing a favorite song or when a beloved play- mate says or does something hurtful. But my favorite part about the idea of suggesting that children "move forward" is that this teacher comes and joins children in their sadness or disappointment. She remarks on how they might be feeling, connects physically where it makes sense and sits with children who are sad or even angry. And then towards the end, she suggests or acknowledges it when they get there on their own. Moving Forward.
"Wow! You were feeling really sad that your friend is sick today and not here to sit by you. I know how much you like to play together. You found another friend and are sitting next to them today! You made a choice to move forward. I bet that feels good."Another conflict or strong feeling in class? She takes time to sit with the child and this feeling and then creates excitement and motivation to move on.
This coaching to move on worked so well with a variety of kids in our classes this fall that I took this tool home and added it to my parenting toolbox for my own 3 children. I even started trying it with myself as I dealt with conflict with my partner or a coworker. Instead of spending a ton of time and energy focused on how I'd been wronged, I channeled that same energy into moving ahead. It works! It helps me to change my perspective, it helps my children to look for solutions; it helps my family to look for ways where have common ground.
I'm excited to give 2016 a big fat kick in the pants for a variety of reasons. This seems to be a theme I've heard from lots of parents in my classes. However even with a lot of disappointing things for me in 2016, there were also special days, camping trips, family game nights and meaningful moments with all my children. Many of us are naturally drawn to focus on what went wrong. I'm heeding my colleagues advice though as I look to 2017. I'm going to make a choice to move forward with positivity into the New Year.
The PAC Newsletter is produced by parents working in the PAC Communication Committee. The aim of the newsletter is to help co-ops communicate among themselves, inform families about important dates, ideas, related classes and seminars, Cooperative Preschool solutions and techniques from other preschools. It also advertises teacher openings, and fundraising activities.
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