One day this week I walked into my director’s office, gave a very exasperated look and exclaimed, “I’ve spent all my time today in the bathroom with these children!” We are in a potty training marathon in my classroom of two and three year olds right now (which, of course, is a good thing because no one wants to go to college in a diaper). My director gently reminded me, as she is so good at doing, that every moment is a teachable one. And after thinking about it more, I actually now think the bathroom is a great place to teach! How often do you get to spend quality 1-on-1, or 1-on-2 time with your students? Not often I’m guessing. But here in the nice, quiet restroom, there’s time to have a conversation, give positive feedback, count the stickers they’ve accumulated on the potty chart, reflect on how overalls aren’t the best thing to wear when developing bladder control, figure out the mechanics of tucking the dress into your shirt so you don’t pee on it, and yes, even begin to be a husband in training and put the seat back down.
The best place for a little chat?
Now that I think about it, I’ve heard the funniest quotes, received the nicest compliments, and been invited over for more playdates at these children’s houses when I’m in the bathroom than at any other time. So take a deep breath all you potty training teachers out there, use the time to have a nice exchange with these little developing humans, teach them how to keep the toilet paper from rolling on the floor, and know that you’re probably their favorite bathroom buddy:)
Why aren’t adults more motivated by stickers?
It works, it really does. You can teach your students all through play, I promise. We’re exploring the world of baseball in my class right now and we’re having a field day, pun intended, with counting, number recognition, shapes, gross motor skills, and turn-taking. If you wanted to explore the world of force and motion, all you need are some cars, balls and ramps, or marble runs. Show the kids how to increase the speed of the cars by changing the incline on a ramp, or put some weight in one car to demonstrate mass and changes in speed. Constructing a volcano with your students is a great sensory experience, explores chemistry principles, demonstrates cause and effect, and always produces some great ooohs and aaahs upon explosion. And then there’s always the building experiments to fall back on…is it top-heavy? How high is it? Is it symmetrical?
It may look like a big pile of stuff and he’s “just playing” but this little guy just worked on balance, gravity, and his self-esteem.
“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” Leo F. Buscaglia
It helps turn paper towel tubes into swords, patches leaky water bottles and broken flip-flops, keeps our Yankees-Phillies banner up on the wall,
and helps make a great dugout for our little team.
Yesterday, teachers, parents and children everywhere lost a dear friend in Maurice Sendak. The author has always been one of my personal favorites and if you’re following this blog, then you may have seen my recent posts about our journey through Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”. My class of 3 year olds was absolutely entranced with his illustrations, writing, and ability to empower the small child as the “king of all wild things”. Sendak recently appeared on the Steven Colbert show and stated “Some people think my books are not appropriate for children”. Oh, how us preschool teachers know differently. Sendak’s books were about survival, defeating monsters, and conquering a child’s greatest fears. Nothing more appropriate and empowering than that. You will be missed Maurice, and in your honor, we spent today diving into the Night Kitchen with Mickey, eating chicken soup with rice, not caring with Pierre, and making mischief of one kind or another with Max.Thank you friend.