My dad was an early childhood educator. I don't think he ever had a kindergarten class of his own, but he spent a lot of time in classrooms with university students who were specializing in this area, and would soon have classes of their own. It was his excitement for teaching that led me towards a (short) career in education.
Occasionally I taught as an on-call teacher in kindergarten classes. It is a (barely) controlled anarchy of a most wonderful kind. There is potential and magic happening all day long. It is a thrilling, tiring ride for those teachers that are brave of soul and strong of heart.
Dad loved this early atmosphere and always said, "The little people are where it's at." He thought that if you wanted to change the world it was the little people to which you should appeal. After all, the essential learnings happen early in our lives.
If I were teaching "little people" today, the guidelines that we would discuss at the beginning of the year would be something like the following.
- Share everything.
- Be kind.
- Clean up your own mess.
- Don't take things that aren't yours.
- Say you're sorry if you hurt somebody.
- Learn something new every day.
- Think and ask questions. All the time.
- Don’t take more than your fair share.
- Draw, paint, sing, dance and play a bit every day.
- Get a good sleep, and take naps.
- Work and play with each other - together we are strong.
- When out in the world hold hands.
- Show respect for all living things.
- Be truthful.
- Be yourself and share your gifts with the world.
- Nurture your curiosity and sense of wonder.
What if the lessons we learned in kindergarten stayed with us for our whole lives? How different our world would be.
Want to know where it is at? Visit a kindergarten class and see what the little people are up to. Or ask a kindergarten student you know. They will remind you of the important things in life.