There are many times during my classes with preschoolers where I find myself thinking, "wow, if someone were to come in right now, they probably think I have lost control of the class". I don't believe in controlling a class. The kids spend most of their days having their behaviour and thoughts controlled by someone else, and you wonder why they have meltdowns or act out.
I've learnt and am still learning that sometimes the best thing to do is relinquish the need to control and let the kids regulate themselves. I always find it funny that people expect kids to sit still for more than 10 minutes at a time (even 10 minutes is stretching it). I've been in classes where assistant teachers sometimes try to hold the kids in their seats when they walk around the class, seemingly abandoning the task at hand. It looks a lot like distraction, and we all know distraction is a dirty word in a class. But often, if you let them roam, they will come back when they are ready, usually sooner than you think. Don't we all need to walk away from our desks from time to time? Have we forgotten that kids are no exception? But what if they are shouting and climbing on top of each other? You don't need to compete with them, spare your voice. Just start whispering. 9 out of 10 times, it works like magic.
Letting go of that control is so hard. We are so ready to pounce and react when something doesn't go according to plan. But just wait 10 seconds before responding (as long as no one is in danger), and things might work themselves out. If I jumped at every opportunity to keep the kids in line, I would never have witnessed my 5-year-old tell her classmate off respectfully for being rude. I would never have heard my other 5-year-old explain to his classmates that a poisonous snake is dangerous only if you eat it, but a venomous snake is dangerous if it bites you (all his words, not mine). I would never have heard my 4-year-old ask me who my best friend is, nor would I have seen how great one of them is at cartwheels.
So sure, if you walk into my class, the kids may appear to be all over the place. But I learn so much about them in their ebbs and flows, and it always makes it easier to connect with them, which then renders control completely unnecessary.
Thank you for tuning in this month, what are you letting control of today?
This month's play-list: