Focus and Intention Guides our Important Work as Teachers
My most important intention as an Early Childhood and Early Grades Teacher at Lakeside School is to help the children to BREATH! This may sound funny, but until the children are at ease and open and interested in the world I cannot engage them in the work of their development. I try to bring a breathing quality to the RHYTHM of the day,.. ample time for large motor play, and then quieter inner listening and rest. Finding this balance for the children so they can meet the social, movement, and listening opportunities through our day together.
PLAY is at the core of the day because this enables the children to work creatively, socially, and make sense of the world around them. This experimental time, collaborating with one another, and problem solving helps the child to breath and express their own original way of being in the world. Another essential part of our day is time in NATURE. It is now being acknowledge more widely that the natural world is healing, inspiring and essential for healthy human development. Authors have gone as far as to say that a child is deprived if they do not have this opportunity to experience the natural world. The lessons that are implicit in the natural world are extraordinary in number. Cycles of life, physical laws, patterns and artistry, etc. are endless stimulation to the senses of the young child and adult alike.
PURPOSEFUL WORK is also an inherent part of our day. When the children partake in the work of their daily life, they feel needed, accomplished and rewarded by the outcome of their newly developed skills. Work for them is not drudgery if brought with joyful invitation. It is what I DO and not what I SAY that is instructive to the children. At this age the children learn through IMITATION, and being worthy of that imitation is my goal and intention. They also begin to strongly imitate their peers as 4-5 year olds. So I work closely with the older children to remind them that they may lead by positive example.
The young child is developing their PHYSICAL body, so I work consciously to provide many varied movement opportunities. Each day we cover new terrain on our adventures, the children to learn to move as a group during circle, coming to understand their spacial relationships and beginning to integrate reflexes from birth. In contrast we offer time for the children to have quiet and rest. The skill we work to develop is finding an inner calm and breathing. This digestive time is the pause needed to integrate all their sensory experiences they have drunk in through the activities of the day. To be able to find stillness and quiet is an activity undervalued in our current culture. This ability is foundational for children to be able to have clear thoughts and come to be at home in their bodies. In order to take on the task of formal academics a child must learn to find this inner peace.
Read more blog postings from Lakeside School at Black Kettle Farm here.