Guest Blogger Sonja Meier is an evaluator for Learner’s Edge and the mother of 3 young children. In her spare time she loves going on long walks and reading. 7 years ago reading meant a quiet activity she did alone, but today it means reading to her children, them reading to her and when she just can’t seem to put a good book down, modeling reading to her children. Her favorite treats are Hot Tamales and sushi…not necessarily together.
After pouring yet another cup of orange juice, wiping up applesauce and hotdogs from the floor and reading The Aristocats to my 5 year old for the umpteenth time, I glanced at the calendar. The phrase, “the daily grind” takes on new meaning in the dead of winter.
Let’s face it: February, caught in between the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the excitement of spring, can become routine, tedious, monotonous (and very cold here in Minnesota). I could feel the eyes of my 5 year old on me. Watching… those big eyes are always watching… taking in my facial expressions, my attitude and each and every word I say. “Mommy, can you read it one more time?” Inside I groaned, but reading is something I rarely say “No” to. I picked up the book again and realized that these sometimes tedious routines, that I perform each day, are my opportunity to shape her beliefs, attitudes and of course demonstrate my love for her. It’s not the exciting trips that you take to DisneyWorld that shape your children. It is routine interactions that you have with them on a daily basis.
Simply put… this is called parenting.
This is also what we do as educators. I am an Early Childhood Special Education teacher, primarily working with preschoolers. Any preschool teacher knows that it is necessary to have a daily schedule and routine is key! Children not only benefit from routine… they thrive on it! It’s through these daily activities that habits, beliefs and knowledge are ingrained. Our job as teachers is to take the mundane, tedious routines and transform them into positive, enriching, nurturing experiences for children. Taking the time to truly listen and make eye contact with that anxious little girl who just can’t keep quiet any longer about her princess movie. Authentically praising that 4 year old boy who just learned how to zip his coat… All by himself! Building strong relationships, holding children accountable for their actions and maintaining high expectations are so important and it is through daily routine experiences that this takes place. Our responses, actions and words shape our children daily. It’s the small meaningful moments that we find within these routine tasks that truly make a difference. My challenge for myself is to take as many of these monotonous, mundane, routine moments as possible and turn them into an enriching and meaningful experience for each child.
Simply put… this is called teaching.