This afternoon found us enjoying the clouds rolling in, warm and heavy with rain. The wind blew flowers down from the maple tree as all of the toddlers and infants gathered underneath: our favorite place to be outside. Dandelions have sprung in abundance and a few have already gone to seed. A provocation on our large outdoor table enticed the older boys to smell, blow, pull, deconstruct, bang and arrange on the bowls, dishes and smooth surface. The added sprigs of parsley added an element of scent and encouraged the boys to "eat?" and then proceed to laugh as they pretended to munch.
After a while, A started sounding sad, and SC squatted down gently rubbing her back. One thing we practice a lot is what to do when we hear others in distress. A seemed instantly calmed just by having his presence next to her and we all talked about what might be happening in her world and what we might do to help her feel better.
These tender feelings spread through out our afternoon as we explored dandelions and the feelings we all have. GW noticed L's frustration in waiting for her milk to warm up later and laid down closely to her. "Lu's feeling nervous. Feeling nervous." he said while gently rubbing her head and watching her face.
Offering everyone this opportunity to observe and reflect on the feelings and being able to label them give them the power to own how they feel. Then in turn become the models for self-confidence and language that the younger children look up to. It also supports our environment of anti-shame, putting the child in control whenever possible, so they have the freedom to clearly express themselves no matter what.