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Third Teacher

Published on October 16, 2019 under Winter

Research has proven that our environment, – the way we set up our rooms can often be the third teacher. Especially when following the philosophy of teaching we do I am reminded often how important it is to be intentional about the materials that I put out. You’ve heard me preach over and over again about why certain materials get put out at certain times.

Today I was reminded that other objects – sometimes unintentional can serve as teachers as well. We have this ball in the play yard.

It is the source of many strong conversations. We have other balls that bounce the same way that are even more new than this but for some reason many of the kids gravitate toward this faded old hoppy ball.

When there is a disagreement about who had it first or whose turn it is to hop sometimes disagreements are heated. Sometimes there are tears and gnashing of teeth. As a teacher I could choose to take the ball and set it outside the fence so no one can fight over it. I could choose to spend 20 minutes of my time joining the argument. I can even hijack the ball and give it to a child – that’s what many teachers do. 

Most days I choose to stay nearby and listen. Many times I can be found just taking deep breath’s as a child looks at me and hoping that inner mechanism kicks in for them and they breathe as well. Sometimes I ask questions like” what can you say that’s going to help your friend understand how you feel?” Sometimes ( most often) I just listen.

This old faded hoppy ball many times is my third teacher. She teaches us patience. She teaches us how to handle frustration. She teaches us that sometimes it’s not worth the argument and it’s better to walk away. She teaches us to be bold and use our powerful words . She teaches us that eventually we get a turn if we just wait. She teaches us how to communicate with our friends.

And you thought the only skill that old ball helped with was building muscles in legs.   

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