Month: March 2013

Make Mistakes

In my sports psychology class I am reading a lot these days about coaching and how to handle your athletes’ mistakes. But what I think about most when I read this material is how it translates to the classroom and our little ones. If you teach in a play-based environment, then one of the goals should be to create an environment in your classroom that encourages mistakes. Lots of them. Play-based atmospheres ideally allow for experimentation and risk-taking because we want these kiddos to try new things for themselves, explore the world of cause and effect, trial and error, and practice persistence. Here’s why:

The Lifeblood Of Learning

“Mistakes are the lifeblood of learning. Without the willingness to make mistakes and learn from them, learning shrivels up. One of the reasons mature people are apt to learn less than young people is that they are willing to risk less. Learning is a risky business, and they do not like failure. In infancy, when children are learning at a phenomenal rate-a rate they will never again achieve-they are also experiencing a great many failures. Watch them. See the innumerable times they try and fail. See how little the failures discourage them. With each year that passes they will be less blithe about failure. By adolescence the willingness of young people to risk failure has diminished greatly. And all too often parents push them further along that road by instilling fear, by punishing failure or by making success seem too precious. By middle age most of us carry in our heads a tremendous catalogue of things we have no intention of trying again because we tried them once and failed-or tried them once and did less well than our self-esteem demanded. Fear of making mistakes is a paralyzing force that robs people of spontaneity, love of life, and a willingness to try new things. It is the no-buts approach to mistakes that gives the sense of psychological and emotional freedom that can unlock the learning process”.

Jim Thompson. Positive Coaching: Building Character and Self-Esteem Through Sports.

Tracing Fun


Super fun activity – tracing the kiddos and then we all get to draw in the details. Every couple of days we trace another one and hang it on the wall. They feel famous and the conversations and observations about how they view each other are priceless……


“Kai has a ton of freckles but I don’t”, “I want to draw Kai’s smile, because he’s always smiling”, “Where should we put Kai’s belly button?”


Great lessons in how different we are, how we all have belly buttons, how we see each other, and just a simple, fun group activity.


We’ve been writing the kids’ funny ones down for years. Pretty much the second they start talking, we put up a board on the classroom door and start writing down the daily hilariousness that comes out of their little mouths. When they graduate and go off to kindergarten, we publish them all for the parents and I think collectively all 5 years worth could put any episode of SNL to shame. Some of my favorites:

“We don’t talk back to anyone Suz, we only talk front”

“Hearts are for love everyone”

“I’m thankful for cows and guitars”

“I have my fastest running underwear on today”

“I’ll pretend to be the husband. The husband does nothing”

“Can we sing a song about drinking beer in a cabaret?”

“What’s first grade?! I thought kindergarten was it!”

I honestly could write 100 more of these down that make me pee in my pants every time I read them, but the point is, don’t let these little gems slip away. Regardless of whether you put them all together in a published, formal way, try to keep track of them somehow. Not only does it promote literacy to have the kids see you writing them down, but it makes the parents’ day to hear about how funny their little ones are and makes the kids feel so important and funny too:)