Carrie, one of our two new Preschool Teachers, chose to carefully observe Teacher Language for one of her modules, and she took notes all day on phrases she heard. When she emailed everyone the list, we were all so impressed with how astutely she picked up on our "Tumbleweedy" ways! And it also gave us the opportunity to reflect on which phrases we wanted to keep around, and which ones we wanted to adjust in order to more intentionally support our intended messages. What an opportunity!
Here is a shortened list of some phrases Carrie heard:
"What I know about (child) is..."
"It's cleanup time." (fact not command)
"It looks like we need to think of a new plan."
"Try to take a deep breath."
"(Child) is holding on tightly."
"Aw, it's frustrating."
"I hear (child) needs some space right now."
"My lap is not available because everyone needs to be able to see the pictures. There are still places to sit here and there!"
"I'm looking over here, and we have cubes on the floor."
(To the tune of 'This is the way the farmers ride) "(Child) is putting the blocks away, blocks away, blocks away..."
"Let's find a home for everything."
"I'm available to help."
"You're working so hard!"
"You feel really good about doing that! It was hard, and you kept trying, and you did it."
"Do you want to tell us a story about your (injury)?"
"Does it work for you to talk about it? Not everyone likes to talk about their injury."
"What did you notice this morning?"
"I can see you're crying!"
"Everyone, let's listen very carefully."
"We need to make a plan."
"How did that make you feel?"
"I wonder, are you both looking for more space?"
"So what's your plan?"
"I won't let you hit him with a stick, but if you need ____, you can ____."
"It's important for us to listen to each other so we can all feel safe."
"I can tell that makes you feel good."
"I'm available if you need a hug."
"Does that work for everybody?"
"(Child), I can tell you feel really strongly about ____."
(Restate child's plan) + "That's an idea!" +"Does that work for everyone?"
"I notice that there is a little piece of your skin that is up in a flap."
"How does it feel, (child)?"
(Child says "Look at this!") -> "You used purple on your cheek! Did you want to tell me about it?"
"Thank you for being careful with my body. I like gentle touches."
"You're feeling very strongly about that."
"I won't let you bite me."
"I hear you saying that it's yours and (child) is pulling on it. I wonder if anyone has an idea for a solution?"
"It sounds like we need to make a plan that works for everybody."
"You are using that big stick so closely to your friends, and you're being so careful to make sure it doesn't touch anyone! That's hard work."
"The thing about sticks is: we can use them if we can keep everyone safe."
My favorite messages these phrases send include:
* I trust you to know what you need.
* I want to help you as much as you need me: no more, and no less.
* I'm here to help you understand yourself.
* I'm here to help you help others understand you.
* Anything you feel is always ok.
* Expressing yourself safely is always ok.
* Everyone can contribute to problem solving.
* This is a safe place to offer ideas... You never know what plan is going to work for everyone!
* Doing things that work for everyone works (i.e. making safe choices works).
* When you make choices that work, work hard at something, and/or help your friends, it feels good.
* We are a team! We are a community! And each person's contributions are unique and useful.