Hello, my fellow childcare providers; today, I tell a beautiful story of two little girls I will call little C. + little L. their simple gesture of friendship and how it helps me stake our value as a home childcare provider. I am honored that daily I get to witness the children’s growth and development and so do you.
While we were getting ready for our outdoor adventures, I glimpsed one of the girls helping the other to zip up her snow jacket. In a split second, I quickly grabbed my phone and took these images.
I watched as Little C.’s fingers slid off the zipper during her first and second attempts; she couldn’t get the zipper of little L.’s jacket to glide. She then stooped and grabbed the zipper pull. She held the pull tightly between her fingers while gingerly pulling it up.
Little C. turned to her friend and said – not too much on your neck? Little L. replied – no, I don’t like it on my neck!
- Let’s talk about her decision to ask her friend’s preference. During our daily tabletop discussions, we talk about others, how we are feeling, and what we like to do, and during those moments, we talk about emotions/feelings and name the emotions. Children need to be given the language of these emotions. At times we use stories, cards, and blocks, but most often, we relate situations and ask for feedback (how would you feel) and moments when they don’t know how they would feel – I use myself. I tell them how Miss Sue would feel if one of my friends ….We use the tabletop discussions like a round table moment where the children speak. It is very conversational. I allow each of the six children to say or do something, yes, even the ones with limited vocabulary – I make space for each child.
- What also caught my attention was little C.’s gentleness while zipping the jacket. The word gentle has been a recurring word – or better yet, it’s an ongoing dialogue about how we can practice gentleness in our lives and with animals. Here is a back story to little C. she was very rough with worms, cicadas, snails, and all the other critters we find outdoors. So rough that, at times, she would unintentionally wound the critters because she didn’t learn about soft, gentle hands. I have spent many years helping the children in my care learn the word soft, gentle hands. Every time she did some act of kindness to the critters, she would say – I being gentle, look, I gentle, I soft touch. And so those actions have become part of her framework – inside her, it is part of her conscious pathway.
Here is the thing, I love photo documentation; I prefer videos, but at the moment, I wasn’t thinking of videoing it, so in the spur of the moment, I snapped photos. I sent the photo to the parents (via text) for them to be part of this beautiful moment. The parents were thrilled to see their children engaging in such friendships while demonstrating love and care.
I just had to share this charming moment with you all because it warms my heart to see how they have socialized, grown friendships, and how the environment is a teacher.
Do we stop to find value in social-emotional connections and see this as learning? Or are we too focused on teaching the children? Do we send documentation to the parents? Do parents need to know what their children are doing outside of ABC 123? And if not – why not?
Here is the thing during the prodding of my breast ultrasound (after my mammogram), I thought of these two children. Their friendship, compassion, gentleness, dialogue, and respect swirled in my head. I compared those moments to my technician walking me through my breast examination process. I was on that bed, filled with ponderance; my technician was probably accustomed to those emotions, yet she comforted me during those moments. She cared; she spoke tenderly, very compassionately, while she applied the warm cream to my skin before using the transducer.
I felt compelled to include this moment in the post because I have comforted many children. I have seen them, honored them, and spoken lovingly to them, even when I am firm. Just as the technician eased my worried heart by being present, I think of the many ways I ease the children worried hearts. Our beautiful days are filled with dialogues, stories, indoor and outdoor play. As I gazed at the wall in the imagining room, I thought of the many times the children hug me throughout our day, oftentimes telling me how much they love me, I love you, Miss Sue. I thought of the days I’ve stopped to assure the children I cared about them. The gentleness I have taught them to revere. As I lay there, I thought about the renewal of my life with the children. As I ponder my results, I am more determined to take care of myself and always show the children in my life how much I care.
Until next time – Your childcare provider who is walking with you on our day-to-day journey – xoxo Miss Sue.