Ettie Gotel knows the power of intention! When her papa brought her to Kindergarten Orientation, the class was informed that, due to increased enrollment over the summer, an additional K classroom would be added and their new teacher would be assigned in the next few days. Paul, her dad, looked at her questioning little face and said, “Did you forget to make your list for what kind of teacher you wanted?” To which she nodded yes. “We better do that now,” he said. And here’s what she came up with:
10. Best Ever
To me, Ettie’s list shows us the Best Ever qualities or practices for learning. As a teacher/tutor for many years, I’ve found the following things to be even more essential these days.
1. Nice, Caring, Loving – Notice the weight given the qualities of Loving on her list! What we spend our time and energy on most is what we love the most. Giving a child TIME is the greatest gift and also so important for learning. Time to finish their sentences, time to formulate and articulate their thoughts, time to be heard.
2. Helpful – Patience, time, and guiding/allowing a child to do on their own is the ultimate in helpfulness when it comes to learning. A child needs time to respond, and also time to perform a request so they learn how to process more complex verbal information. Breaking things down into steps is key in teaching a task.
3. Intelligent – Dinner time! Don’t pass up the perfect opportunity to feed their intelligence. This is a regular and consistent (if not every night then weekly) time and place where children learn how to listen, how to formulate and articulate their thoughts, how to speak with clarity, and how to take part in conversations/discussions.
4. Fun & Playful – As often as possible. It is a great way to bond and communicate ideas.
5. Artistic & Scientific – Use your creativity to take advantage of what we know about the neurological system. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic are all different ways we can engage our learner. Function creates form – so when you repeat a task you create and then strengthen the new neural pathway.
And two more that are my own additions:
6. Choices – It’s necessary for a child to feel empowered to have some control of their world (some more than others). It’s also a useful strategy in behavior management. By picking which two choices to offer you are controlling the parameters, they’re able to participate in the decision-making, and you will oftentimes sidestep the power struggle.
7. Balance – A balance of activity/rest, stimulation/relaxation is so important in a child’s day and in a child’s life. An easy way to create calm is to play Largo Baroque music in the background (largo means slow tempo, the baroque period was the early 1600’s Italy). This music has the closest beats per minute to that of the human heart (60 beats per minute) and listening to it causes the heartbeat to entrain with it. One of the most popular largo baroque pieces is “Pachelbel’s Canon”
By the way, after Ettie’s first week of school, I asked her if her teacher was everything she asked for. She gave me a resounding YES!
Photo: Ettie’s actual list that she wrote.
Image Credit: Lori Lewis