Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
by Adriana Hollenbeck, Head of The Experiential School of Tampa Bay
There’s a magical space between what one says and what others understand. The length of this line might determine how close we connect, how deep we comprehend, and even how apart we might become.
Early childhood educators are trained to build bridges between what children know, the world around them and the goals we establish as a community. These goals are set in the small classroom cohort, then in the grade cohort, the Division, and the school. Later on, there will be roles to be played in the bigger community and in the blue planet we all share.
Children are resilient young human beings, making sense of this complex world we created. I deeply admire them for never giving up.
Last week the kids in Ms. Styke’s class hosted a Baby Shower for Mrs. Roller, who will soon be the mom of baby Eliana. Children made predictions, gave Jackie tips, gifts, and celebrated the special moment. One of the kids, who had been hearing all about the Baby Shower, said, “I can’t wait to see you giving her a shower!”
Now pause and reflect for a moment.
We’d been plowing through the concept without realizing that a shower can be more than one thing, but it never crossed anyone’s mind that some 3 year olds have no way of knowing that such an event does not include a baby, water, soap, or a real shower. The construction of concepts is such a precious process, isn’t it? There’s so much truth and innocence in it.
It is our willingness to understand what is going through the children’s minds that brings us to thorough documentation, critical analysis and a constant search for deeper meaning. When listening and documenting, teachers make decisions and determine where to go next.
The current understanding of concepts is not taken as misconceptions or mistakes, but as a collection of thoughts instead, which will give the teachers insights to sharpen and deepen the focus of learning.
There are times when teachers masterfully anticipate what a child’s reasoning will be. There are others when their thinking surprises us all and that’s the true beauty of this field!
We all learn as we go along.
Shorecrest Preparatory School
5101 First Street Northeast St Petersburg, FL 33703 Phone: (727) 522-2111 | Fax: (727) 527-4191 [Map]