I have the best job. There is just nothing like hearing little voices chattering as a healthy handful of tots play uninterrupted. I have been changing. I used to feel like I had to keep kids motivated, challenged, and on a tight schedule all day long. I felt this way because I was trying to please the parents, myself and….the kids?
Thank goodness I started to see the light after attending a fantastic conference for early childhood professionals. The speaker was Denita Dinger and her focus is all about kids LEARNING through play. It sounds simple, sure. For a control freak like me however, it wasn’t.
I started to look at my group differently and evaluating myself as well. Why do I do the things I do and are the kids even having fun? I gave myself permission to throw the calendar out (in a sense) and stop stressing every weekend and month about not being ready for the next week and month.
These kids and all kids are learning such valuable lessons through their play. I can be there to make sure they are safe, kind and provide the tools they may need to enhance their play. Really, it doesn’t get much better than that and I am seeing (after doing this for about 6 months or so) the benefits to our new way of functioning.
I still plan fun things to do, we still do projects, circle time and all that good stuff…BUT the kids are now coming up with amazing ideas, and are learning to work together with each other in a whole new way. I have to let them have this chance!
So when I hear their little imaginations going full-tilt I sit back and smile. We can paint those pictures later, or tomorrow-there is no rush, children are playing and that is one of the best things they could be doing.