Character

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If anything summarized the most important lessons I taught my preschool kiddos, it would have to revolve around character. When the kids left my classroom for Kindergarten, character is the most important aspect of my teaching I wanted them to leave with.

There are many important things children learn in preschool. Letters, numbers, colors… all kinds of things. There are many social-emotional skills like sharing and taking turns. And all of those gross motor and fine motor lessons children accomplish. Children learn across a spectrum of disciplines.

And the reason why it’s so important that children learn these concepts at a young age is because they will take the lessons with them their entire lives. Think about it. No matter how far back you think, there are some things that you don’t remember learning. You just know because you know. You know?

For example, I knew my letters by an early age. I don’t remember learning them. I just went into Kindergarten (without attending preschool) knowing the alphabet. Later, I found out from my parents – and I can’t believe I’m gonna share this –  that I was taught the alphabet while I was potty training (the letters distracting me from being afraid of falling into the toilet…the struggle is real).

Still, I never remember learning my letters. I just knew them.

Now, think about character. How cool would it be for children to just know how to be charitable? Or, how about learning how to attend to someone else’s emotional needs, like compassion and empathy? How about doing the right thing when no one is looking?

Situations presented themselves as “teachable moments”.

How cool would that be? You know?

I taught many character lessons throughout my preschool teaching career. However, most of them were unplanned. Situations presented themselves as “teachable moments”.

Like, when a child is crying and I see a child go out of their way to help. I put a spotlight on that.

Or when a child is cleaning an area of the classroom that they didn’t play in. They just know that, before we go outside, the classroom should be clean. And a teacher never told them to do it. I put a spotlight on that.

Or when a child sacrifices something, like a turn at a game or materials, because they can tell that it means something more important to a friend. That’s pretty cool.

Character, above all else, were the most important lessons I wanted my kiddos to remember. I tell people constantly that, if I saw my students later in life as adults, I would consider those who were honest, trustworthy, and good as successes over those who were simply rich or acquired material wealth.

Certificate of Endurance

One of the resources I offer other teachers.

Although I don’t teach today, I still try and pass along my conviction of character lessons to other teachers. I share stories when I teach college students. I’ve made character certificates that teachers can print and pass out to their students. Most of all, I have children of my own who I will pass along my morals and values.

Character. It’s important. You know?

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Wonder

One of the most amazing things I have ever seen was the Grand Canyon. If you’ve ever been there, it’s more than just a big hole in the ground. It’s so vast and deep that, to look at it in person, you feel like you’re going to be sucked in.

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As an adult, there have been moments when I’ve been put into a state of wonder. When I went to London, England for the first time, that was amazing. The first time I saw my wife in her wedding dress. There are a couple of technology creations that take me aback because I can’t quite figure out how it was made or how it works.

However, despite all of the things that leave me in awe as an adult, it doesn’t compare to the numerous times I was put into a state of wonder when I was a child.

wonder (noun). a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable

How do magic card tricks work? How do fireworks go into the air? How do things glow in the dark? Why can I see small things with a microscope? How does that orange Nintendo blaster work with the tv?

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Even today, I still don’t understand how it works.

Perhaps, as an adult, I just know more and can figure out how something works. I don’t know how my smartphone works, but I know enough to where touching a glass surface to trigger a text message to someone across the world doesn’t amaze me anymore. And, I think I’ve taken this concept for granted because I never really thought, “Wow, text messages are pretty amazing.”

Still, there is plenty of ideas, structures, and images, that can leave me in wonder today. So, why don’t I seek these out? Why can’t I make time during my day to feel this emotion? Probably because it isn’t really important to me. However, wonder is such a wonderful feeling, like joy, love, and excitement.

Children are constantly in a state of wonder. Everything is an exploration. Every day is a discovery. Their daily lives must be amazing.

It’s sad to think that, as we grow older, we tend to lose the feeling of wonder. We figure out how something works or we generally understand why something is happening. However, we don’t seek wonder. Not like we did as children.

If you work with young children, put yourself in a state of wonder now and then, because this is what they feel. Explore something you’ve always wanted to see. There are even times when I just sit and think (meditate) that I can trigger wonder myself. Heck, bring something to the classroom that will evoke the emotion out of the kiddos.

Allow yourself to wonder and amaze.

The Mad That You Feel…

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Handling emotions is something you teach. Not something you learn about, hide, or keep inside. They are what make us human.

That doesn’t mean that outbursts of emotion are easy to handle. Children who exhibit strong emotions can affect everyone around that child. It’s hard not to get stressed or angry ourselves.

Mister Rogers, however, has a message for us…

“Almost everyone gets mad sometimes. That is just a part of being human, whether you are a grownup or a child.”

Fred Rogers on  Set

This is a quote from a very helpful handout from the producers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Furthermore, the handout contains a lot of wonderful advice on how to support children during times they are mad.

There are explanations on how…

  • Children learn self-control in everyday ways.
  • Everyday rules and routines help children develop controls.
  • Children get scared when they are so mad they get out of control.
  • When children use words, they are less likely to hit.
  • Children feel good when they are able to stop.
  • Children can express their feelings in ways that do not hurt.

You want a copy of this handout? Click below. Hope it helps!

The Mad that You Feel Pg. 1
The Mad that You Feel Pg. 2

Stapler Design

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My mind is going to mush,” I thought.

Hours and hours of paperwork and data entry made my brain a zombie. My head was screaming for stimulation. But, all that was in front of me was paperwork. Enter the latest immunizations here. Insert the latest home visit there. It’s simply robotic.

I grab my stapler to bind some paperwork. I lose grip as the top of it comes off. It’s brown with a fake wood pattern on it, and the plastic is coming off the top.

I grab for some tape in my desk, but then get an idea. I Google “stapler design”. First, there are some cool designs that I never thought of. However, I’m looking through them because I want to see if I can pull one of them off. There isn’t any, so I decide, if I’m going to tape the top on, might as well tape a pattern on it as well.

I Google “black and white abstract design” and settle on a triangular pattern. Looks like it’s done with a Sharpie. I re-size the image to fit on the Stapler, then print it out. The printer is only black and white, so that determined the color schemes I’m able to pull off.

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The Pythagorean theorem on steroids!

I cut out the design. I place tape on top of the paper, then gently apply the pattern to the stapler. I get another strip and tape down the other side.

As I gander at my work, I notice some other sides that could use some patterns and other designs. But, I should get back to work. My mind isn’t mush anymore. The stimulation worked.

Moral of the Story: The end result isn’t always the reward, but the journey.

A lot of parents may ask, why can’t my child read or why don’t they know their colors yet. They believe that these skills are the end goal of an education. However, that’s only part of the story.

The journey is also part of that education. The emotions, morals, and character traits that is developed in obtaining an education are invaluable. Long after your skills have diminished or – perhaps – you need to move on to another discipline, those intangible traits stay with you.

That’s why, in preschool, no teacher expects children to color within the lines. Children are not expected to write their names with exact precision. Kiddos are not even expected to use eating utensils without dropping food on the table and ground.

The emotions, morals, and character that is developed in obtaining an education are invaluable.

What teachers are stimulating are the emotions, morals and character along the child’s journey to obtain those skills. The focus to color within the lines. The discipline  to practice writing their name daily. Or even the excitement to try a new food.

The journey to obtain academic achievement requires more than just the memorization of facts, but the molding and shaping of the person who wants to know and master these facts. This is why play, exploration, and creativity is so important. They are the school for these intangibles to cultivate.

I think this is something that we forget as adults. I do little things that may not seem adult like, such as what I did with my stapler. But, how often do we allow ourselves little expressions of creativity? It’s a nice little journey in the middle of the day.

 

Breathe

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When I was teaching, my classroom schedule had outdoor time preceding lunch time.  What does this mean?  It means that, everyday, sweaty, red faces entered the school.  The kiddos were dragging their feet and looking down at their shoes.  But the feeling the cool and gentle touch of our air-conditioned hallway calmed everyone down, refreshing our over-heated bodies.

When we sat down at the table, our meal was eaten in silence. Not because there was a no talking rule – but because no one had the enough energy to speak.

As everyone ate their meal, eyelids became heavier, which directly corresponded with the amount of yummy food filling our bellies. By the end of lunch, I gently tapped children on their shoulders, asking them to lift their heads off the table and remind them to get their blankets and pillows for naptime.  There was little, if any, complaint.  Bed time was an eagerly awaited reprieve from the summer heat.

These are probably one of the few times when children are completely calm and quiet. However, playing outside in energy-sapping heat should not be the only way to get children to be cool and collected. In fact, creating situations where children are serene and tranquil can go a long way in setting up children for learning and development and not just naptime.

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While reading Teaching Young Children, I read an article entitled “Creating Quiet Space in a Loud World” by Lisa Danahy. The article described activities on how children could practice breathing techniques. Children even used objects, such as feathers and bells, to assist them in the activity.

Danahy, who is also a certified yoga instructor, says, “Using mindfulness tools like meditation helps children manage the stress of these environments (classrooms) and become stronger, more resilient learners.”

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Think about that? Have you ever tried to teach a large group activity while children were bouncing off the walls? Probably. I did. It failed. Failed horribly. However, rather than scold children and reprimand them for my poor classroom management, I should start the activity with a sound starting point – such as calming everyone down, priming the minds and bodies for learning.

Of course, breathing techniques are effective for other purposes. I taught children to count to 10 whenever they were angry. I used breathing techniques to calm children how were crying after injuring themselves, that way I could ask questions to assess and inquiry about their injury.

Breathing and meditation are great techniques to use. Calm, collected, and neutral children create a fertile ground for learning and retention. Of course, in teaching children to use these techniques – breathing, counting, and even closing your eyes – you may find yourself benefiting as well!

Biters

Biters

“You’re not hurting me, so you can let go,” I said to the child.  He refused to remove his teeth from my hand.  If he bit a little harder, he would break the skin on my hand and I’d bleed into his mouth.  But I didn’t flinch or give any indication that he was hurting me.  If I did, then he knew that biting would get his toy; and this behavior could not continue if he was ever going to learn the correct way to ask for something.

Biting can be an emotional situation: for the child who bites, the child who is bitten, parents involved and the teacher.

BitersThe teeth marks remained for almost a week.

Biting may be a part of childhood, but you’d be a fool to think that children will simply “Grow out of it.”  For example, if the child who had a vice grip on my hand saw that I was in pain and I relinquished to his demand, then he just learned something – biting gets him what he wants.

Of course, there is also something else.  Some children simply learn by putting things in their mouth.  Weird?  Not really if you think about it.  How would we know if we like new foods?  You taste it.  Well, some children learn best through tasting.

Now, they’re not tasting other kids to determine “Yum, you’re tasty.  We’re going to be amigos.”

So, biting to learn and biting to fulfill demands.  Two very situations, but both need resolutions.

Biting for Learning

Children like to feel things, touch things, and, for children who bite, taste things.  Their need for tactile sensation in their mouth may not be satisfied by meals and tasty foods.  This is when (and this may sound funny) the child needs a chew toy.  Random, safe things to chew.  This is normal and there are items you can purchase – such as necklaces – so children have something to chew.

Chew on this for awhile:

“…the mouth is the quickest route for providing sensory information to the brain.” (Ramming et al. 2006, p.21)

31C5a7CRpmL._SY450_Chewable necklace for kiddos.

So, children who bite are simply trying to learn as quick as possible, and the mouth is the best route for that knowledge.  It’s not fun, nor is it safe for other children, but this should give some perspective on 1) how an adult should react to this kind of child and 2) guide the adult on the remedies they should provide the child.

Give the child things that they can chew on.  This way, you can distinguish “What You Can” and “What You Cannot” chew.

614Ob8PCQNL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Good book to teach about not biting.

Biting to Fulfill Demands

Biting can be interpreted as an aggressive action by any child.  However, this doesn’t mean one child is meaning to hurt the other child.  The demands are not always, “I’m the boss over you” or “I’m going to get what I want.”

No. Sometimes a child bites because, while they’re playing, they don’t see another child scooting into their space, and the bite communicates, “You’re too close.  Back away.”

Some children get excited and end up biting their friends.  Their not trying to be aggressive, they’re just overwhelmed with happy emotion.

Tired children will also bite.  I don’t bite when I’m tired, but I get cranky, quiet, and you’ll get one word conversations out of me.  Well, some children will just bite.  “Don’t talk to me.  I’m tired.”

In these situations, conversations really help out.  Let’s use my example on the playground and the conversation I had with my student, who we’ll call Angelo:

“Angelo, you need to let go of my hand,” I said.

Angelo grins.  Bites harder.

“Angelo, I know you want your toy.  But Daddy said we cannot take it out on the playground.  I had to put it back in your cubby.”

Bite loosens.

“If you want your toy, biting isn’t going to work.  Waiting til the end of the day, when we have Show and Tell, will get you the toy.  Remember, you brought your toy for Show & Tell.  We can wait til then.”

Angelo removes teeth.

“Thank you.  You made a good choice.  Now you’re showing me that you want your toy at the end of the day.”

Was I that calm during the situation?  Yes, I really was.  Was that the first time I had been bitten?  No.  I had been bitten before.  During those first bites, no, I was not calm.  But I learned about biting and learned what I can do. That knowledge prevented biting in the future; knowledge that was better than me jumping up and down in pain.

Which One is My Child: Learning or Demanding?

Observe the child.  If you see that they bite when they’re angry, wanting a toy, wanting their way, or standing up to authority, then you have the demanding one.  I would also correlate these behaviors with the time of day: does biting occur in the morning, before nap time, before dinner, before bedtime?

Don’t stop there though.  Find out what the demand is.  Asking your child questions after the biting incident has occurred will help you determine which need is being fulfilled.  Their responses will confirm your suspicions.

Lastly, share with the child how other people and children feel when they are bitten: sadness, fear, fright, anxiety, scared, etc.  I’m known for telling my students how it is, and I’ve told children who bite that other children will not play with you if you bite them, because it hurts.  Sharing the emotions around biting will give children who bite some understanding, and it’s another tactic for the adult.

As for biting for learning, provide the child with chewing options, then distinguish what we can chew – food and chew necklace – and what we cannot chew – friends and teachers.

Toxic Stress

Toxic Stress

Imagine your greatest fear.  Don’t sugar coat it.  Really think about what gives you chills.

An intruder entering your home.  Drowning (one of mine).  Being abducted.  I’m sorry about going to some dark detail here.  I really am.  I’m normally optimistic and delightful.  But I need you in context with me.  We’re going down a rabbit hole.

When you’re in the middle of conflict, your body goes into “Fight or Flight” mode.  Your muscles tense.  Your adrenaline starts pumping.  You’re either going to face your fear or start running.  It’s something amazing our body does.  It’s a good thing.

However, it’s not a good thing to be in this mode every week, let alone everyday.  Your body gets disrupted.  Your brain is affected negatively.  It’s a good mode to be in when you need it, but it’s not one you want to live in.

Sadly, there are children who are in this mode. Every. Single. Day.  For the purpose of this post, we just get to think or imagine our fear.  That level of stress we’re feeling is imaginary or temporary.  But there are children who are constantly in this state of mind.  And, sadly, the fear and stress are coming from people the child has relationships with.

Sometimes, it’s from an adult, like a parent, sibling, or relative.

Maybe their neighborhood.

Their teacher, perhaps?  I hope not.

For whatever reason, they are in this adrenaline-fueled status more than they should be.  They are living in stress, or better known as toxic stress.  Here’s what you need to know:

Toxic Stress: Children’s experience of intense, frequent, and/or prolonged anxiety such as abuse, neglect, violence, or economic deprivation without adult support to help them cope.

What if you couldn’t escape your fear?  Every night, an intruder would break into your house.  Every morning, you wake up under water.  And every day, you look over your shoulder because, today, with certainty, you’ll be abducted.

Again and again and again in a never-ending, inescapable cycle of fear and fright.

There are children living these lives.  Their brain is permanently affected.  Their ability to learn, develop, maintain relationships, handle emotions… all of that are negatively affected.  The child will be hindered for life.

Moral of the Story: Early childhood educators, more than anything, should have positive relationships with their students.

Children who have positive relationships with an adult – including teachers – are better able to handle stress.  Moreover, children who are in positive relationships learn better, they play, and their brain positively develops.

When children walk into school, it’s a place that needs to be safe and nurturing.  For some kids, your classroom may be the only place where they feel cared about – or even feel loved.

If you care about your student’s learning, then a positive relationship should be foundational to your pedagogy.  A child’s brain is better engaged and able to learn under optimal conditions and emotions.  Furthermore, if a child is going through stress or are experiencing a challenging, emotional situation (like a death in the family, divorce, or something else) then they are better able to get out of “Fight or Flight” because they have an adult who can help them.  That’s you.

For professionals who have been in the field for awhile, we’ve all had the child who needed that extra care and comfort.  There are children that we wished we could put in a different situation, because we know their home life is challenging.  One of the best things you can do is foster a nurturing relationship with that child.  Their brain will thank you.

P.S. If you would like more information about this topic, watch this TEDTalk about Toxic Stress.

P.S.S. My next post will be more positive.  Promise.  But, thanks for going on this journey.  Sometimes, we need a little push.

The Cucumber Rule

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I sat down at the table. It was lunch and, when I looked down at my plate, I lost my appetite.  The children were well aware of the situation, which is why they were smiling. They were anticipating my reaction.

“Boys and girls, you all know that I don’t like cucumbers,” I said.

Oh, they knew.  They also knew the classroom custom of trying all the foods during meals. You have to at least try. Of course, children were never forced, just highly encouraged – or cleverly tricked. Whatever worked.  However, teachers didn’t have the luxury. We had to try the food.  You know, demonstrate to the children.

So I stared at my plate. I wasn’t being dramatic or exaggerating.  I don’t like cucumbers.  I don’t like them in other foods.  I don’t like cucumbers in salads or wraps.  I will never try cucumber water.  I will never like mediterranean food because it seems like every dish is flavored with the vile vegetable.  And, if I mistakingly order a plate that has cucumber in it, I will take the time to diligently pick out each piece.

But, this is not restaurant.  It’s preschool.  No picking.

“Boys and girls, I’m going to eat the cucumber.  I know I don’t like it and I know I don’t like it because I tried it.”  Blah blah blah.  Kiddos knew the drill.  They still smiled.

“But, I’m still going to try,” I said.

And I did.  And then I let the children have it.  I showed them the most disgusted, eye-clenching, mouth puckering face I could muster.  The children giggled.

“And… pew…I still don’t like cucumbers.  Ahhhh!  But I still tried,” I shared as I tried to scrape the taste off my tongue with my teeth. “Where’s the milk?”

Moral of the Story: Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability.  It deepens relationships.

Teachers are not perfect.  We all know that.  But that doesn’t mean we have to show this aura of perfection in front of the children.  I think there is a prevailing mindset that preschool teachers need to be the perfect example: make the right decision and say the right things. Although that may be true, that doesn’t mean that you can’t show your vulnerability or insecurities.

I’ve seen teachers scream over spiders.

I’ve seen teachers groan when they spill paint in their hair.

I groan and whine when there is cucumbers.

There is nothing wrong with showing these feelings.  Absolutely nothing.  It’s a human emotion. It’s normal.  It doesn’t change when you get older.  Children should know that it’s okay to show these feelings.  So, in an effort to be the perfect role-model for our students, I show this side of me: because it’s an opportunity to show children I how handle that emotion.

For teachers that scream over scared spiders, they calm down and ask for help.

For teachers that spill paint in their hair, they show children how to wash it out.

For teachers that are forced fed cucumbers, they show that overcome there fears and take one for the team.

And don’t fake the emotion.  Give children the real thing, not this fake exaggerated stuff.  Giving them the real emotion helps them read the emotions in real life.  Although I put a little theatrics into my reaction to the cucumber taste, my hesitancy, concern, and my quietness is real.

Children like seeing this scared, weak side.  They like to see depth to their teacher’s personality.  Think about it, you know you’ve reached a point in the relationship when children will come to you for help, or when their scared, or when they need comfort.  It’s a sign that says “Teacher, I trust with this side of me because we have a good relationship.”

Guess what, that works in reverse too.

The Power of Red Line

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Whenever children entered the circle time area, I would have them stand on the red line.  “Red Line” was strips of red tape on the tile floor.  Red Line served two purposes:

  • Red line was a physical transition between the previous activity and circle time.
  • Red line allowed children to settle down their bodies.

On Red Line, children placed both feet on the red tape, both arms rested at their sides, mouths were closed, and eyes were on me.  As they stood, I slowly rose my hand.  I stopped my arm until my hand was flat.  I told the children…

Me: “Wait for my hand to move, then you can come in and sit down.”

Is it okay for children to stand long periods without moving?  Absolutely not.  I wasn’t waiting for them to show perfect posture.  I was waiting for their bodies to calm down.

During the first and second week of school I waited one second before I moved my hand.  I was teaching the children the gesture.  Plus, during the first week, there’s lot’s of crying.  No need to push it.

During the third week of school, I upped the ante.  Any child that entered the circle before my hand moved was sent back to Red Line.  No one could enter before I moved my hand.

After the third week, the major components of the routine was set:

  1. Stand on Red Line
  2. Wait for my hand to move (no matter how long it took)
  3. When my hand moved, you may have a seat on the carpet.

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Now comes the major power Red Line; the major social-emotional goal they would learn.  Calmness and patience.   I just had to keep my hand still.

I started with one second before I moved.

Then two seconds.

Maybe the second month of school, five seconds…

…longer then longer then longer…

Remember, it’s not about waiting or showing the correct “posture.”  Waiting is all about calming down your body.  Most importantly, the children were responding positively.

As children waited, I gave compliments…

Me: “I like the way Ikira is standing still.  His eyes are on me.  His body is calm.  Thank you Ikira.”

Of course, other children want praise too…

Me: “Oh, I like the way Mariposa is standing on red line now.  She saw what Ikira was doing.  She is showing me that’s she’s ready to go sit down for circle.”

Other children needed support…

Me: “Pauly. Bobby. Let’s calm our bodies down.  Breathe with me…. 1… 2… 3… The air goes in slowly to slow down our hearts and our bodies.  Then breathe out.  Slow down so we can calm down.”

Four months later…

Me: “Look at all of the boys and girls. They are standing very nicely on red line.”  (raise hand)

Children: (waiting)

Counting…one second… two…three…

Me: (flat hand, perfect still)

Children: (looking at hand, perfectly still)

six… seven…

Me: (hand, not a shake)

Children: (bodies, not a move)

…ten.

Me: (the hand moves)

Children: (smiling, laughing, they walk and  jump, landing criss-cross applesauce on their spot on the carpet)

Depending on the make-up of the class, I can go longer.   Some years, I never made it to ten.  But, it was always awesome to see 16 children standing on red line – calmly and patiently – waiting for my hand move.

Flower Power!

What do you think is the number one thing I teach in my classroom?  If people know my background, you might say “Of course! You mostly teach letters, numbers, literacy, shapes and colors?”  Nope.  Other people – mostly from my hometown – might say “Are you teaching them about computers and cameras?”  No, but I do take a lot of pictures.

The number one thing I teach in the classroom revolve around emotions and how we handle them during social situations.  And, when I’m not teaching emotions and social skills directly, I am reinforcing the behaviors everyday.

One of the best trainings that I ever received – which has had the greatest impact on me as a preschool teacher – is CSEFEL.  Okay, here’s the long name: Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (I had to go to the website and copy – paste) For the sake of my weary fingers, we’ll just call it CSEFEL from now til the end of time.

CSEFEL shares how preschool teachers can teach children about their emotions and, for my classroom, that starts with Feeling Flowers.  That probably sounds all fuzzy, warm and cuddly.  Hah! Anything but.  First, I show the children the Feeling Flowers.  Then, when the children stop laughing at the large man holding paper flowers on popsicle sticks, I get into teaching.  There are 10 flowers (maybe 12 on the website). Each flower has one emotion, such as happy, sad, mad and so forth.  Let me give you some situations:

Happy Flower: “I like how you’re giving the snail some grass to eat.  You’re being really nice.”
Sad Flower: “Where did the snail go?…. huh?… you ate what?”

Happy Flower: “I really like your drawing.  You used three colors: red, blue, and green.”
Mad Flower: “I know you’re mad that he drew on your picture, but that doesn’t mean we color his clothes… or his face.”

Happy Flower: “Aw-right! We made it to the bathroom!  Whew, that was close.”
Embarrassed Flower: “Ohhhhh! Accident.  The block area is closed boys and girls.”

Whatever the situation, I will show a feeling flower to show children how they’re feeling.  They’ve only been alive for three or four years.  Everything is a new experience and this includes experiencing happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, and all kinds of new feelings.  Teachers teach, and teachers need to teach children what emotions are and how we handle them.

So, you do this: “Hey, when you saw that he drew on you’re paper, you got really mad (show mad flower). When we’re mad (show mad flower) we can tell teacher about what happened.  We can work together to make things better!”

Children can learn a lot of things when we talk.  But, when we talk and show something, they learn better.  Like, you can tell someone about a banana, apple, or orange.  But, for someone who has never seen it, it’s much better to just show them.  When you show a child a feeling flower, you’re showing them the expression on their face.  This is a great teaching tool and lays the foundation for teaching emotions.  There’s more and I encourage checking out the CSEFEL website here.  There’s all kinds of good stuff there.  So, when you get all mad flower because children are eating snails and giving face tattoos, you have some teacher tools to work with.

Ahhh….that’s relaxing flower goodness.