I work as a preschool teacher. I don’t feel like I teach them, though. They teach me. Every day. I learn way more from them than they learn from me. Want to know what three and four year-olds have taught me the past few years? Let me share.
Children have taught me to be fearless.
Have you ever noticed how children are afraid of nothing? They will try anything new. Try out some jungle animal yoga poses? Sure! Practice writing letters up on a white board? Of course! Trying something new is exciting to children, and they are willing to attempt anything new.
Children have taught me to say what you mean.
Preschool boys and girls are completely honest. They will tell you exactly what they think. They don’t hold back. If they don’t like a craft, they will tell you they didn’t like it. If they loved the song that was sung at the end of the day, they will tell you so and request that it be sung over and over again. They are truthful and straightforward every day.
Children have taught me that even though they are small, they are capable of doing a lot.
When three year-olds enter my classroom, they seem so small. But they can already do so much. They are able to get their own lunch boxes from their cubbies at lunchtime. They are responsible for throwing away their trash and packing everything back up after lunch. Children can use the bathroom on their own, and ones that can’t on the first day of school can after a little practice. Many children can cut with scissors already (or catch on easily after some practice). They can also learn to recognize their names (and begin writing them) too. Following directions comes easily with a consistent routine. Preschoolers might be small, but they are very capable of doing a lot.
Children have taught me how much fun it is to learn (and we can always learn new things at any age).
Preschoolers are up for anything. They are curious. They want to learn, and they enjoy it even more when it means getting them involved. Letting boys and girls help pour ingredients into a bowl for a cooking activity is such fun! Having them use the classroom pointer to help with the daily calendar allows them to be “the teacher”. Asking them to show the teacher how to complete a task (like how to spell their name, or how to build a castle with the blocks) helps them learn by participating and being engaged in learning. One year, my classroom read a book about arctic animals and igloos. One child asked how families keep warm in an igloo. It was a great question, and his curiosity encouraged me to look up the information so I could share it with him and his classmates the next day at school.
Children have taught me that every day is a new day.
For a child, every day is a new and exciting day. They don’t hold grudges. They don’t get “stuck” on disasters that happened the day before. They move on, and they get ready for the next adventure. They are happy, eager, and excited to get up and see what the day will hold.
I’m so grateful for all that I learn from each preschool child. I am reminded daily of some very important values. They may not know much about the world, but that is one of their biggest strengths. Thank you to my little friends for teaching me so much!