Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our Focus on Focus

At the Preschool House, our typical morning routine after snack is to go to the bathroom and then head outside. Because the preschoolers get done with snack at different times, there can be a long transition time between going to the bathroom and getting outside for some of the children. This can be a time of uncertainty for some and a time of high energy and big movements in anticipation of getting outside.

This morning was no different. Briana noticed TLC walking quickly from room to room with no specific focus, but to just move his body in a big way. Briana looked at him and said, "TLC, it looks like you're looking for something to do! Soon we're going to go outside. Hmmm. I see there are books, dinosaurs, building with blocks...." Very quickly TLC moved over to the block area and began building. As other children came out of the bathroom, they noticed TLC as he continued in his focused play and they too found something to do quietly. Some children sat on pillows and read books, while other children went to the block area and worked on their own creations.

What we noticed is that every single preschooler was focused. There was a group of children reading books, one of them leading and directing the action. Some were helping to wash dishes and wipe tables. The construction corner was filled with towers, trains, moving bodies. And everything was flowing. There was no running or shouting or wrestling... just focused, intentional bodies. This could have been a moment of high energy movements and loud voices, but it wasn't. It took noticing one child's need to turn what could have been a hairy transition, into a transition of calm, concentrated, play.

This is where our power of following the child and taking that moment to observe what is actually happening comes into play. When we, the teachers, are available to change and adapt to the needs that the children show us, we are able to see and support some really amazing play. Although we could have gone outside at this time, this moment was too precious to interrupt. We marveled in it, until they showed us when it was truly time to go outside.

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