The woman who'd been through it gave some tips. "Be sure you know the birthdates of the youngest and oldest in your room. They'll ask. You have to know it." "Always, always wash your hands. Come in the room, and the first thing, wash your hands." (can't argue with that). "Put up a bulletin board that's got all the children's photos on it that says something like 'Our school family.' They like that."
But here's what got me, and this is the part where I was so, so tempted to join in and just ask, "WHAT?" In hindsight, I should have. They wouldn't have minded, and it would have been enlightening.
They commiserated on the fact that state standards don't allow them to tell the children to walk in lines. I have no idea why and I have no idea what the alternative is.
They also shook their heads that they're not allowed to simply say "No" or "don't" to a child. "You have to give them a choice," one said to the other, who nodded. And then they both sighed.
After reading this I am not sighing. I am gritting my teeth. Children are not miniature adults. They do not have the reasoning abilities of adults. They do not need detailed explanations and justifications for the directions of adults. They need to learn discipline and obedience. They need to learn their wants are not the guiding principles for their behavior. They need to be kept safe by adults. This does not mean that we just bark out orders. Marketing and persuasion are important features of dealing with children. My kids were not too crazy about broccoli until I called it dinosaur trees. Then it was cool. Walking in a straight line makes it easier for a teacher to get a gaggle of kids from point A to point B safely. If she wants to make it a game and call it follow-the-leader, that is fine. However, if one child doesn’t want to play follow-the-leader, that shouldn’t excuse him from staying in line.
Thinking back on my days with toddlers and pre-schoolers, I can’t imagine getting along without the words “no” and “don’t”.
- “Don’t put peanut butter in your sister’s hair.”
- “No, you may not jump off the balcony on to the couch”
- “Don’t flush toys down the toilet.”
- “No, you may not put a frog in the bathtub.”
I really believe those who are advocating this always cooperative/never directive approach to teaching children have never actually raised children themselves. It may fit their theoretical psychological models, but sometimes in the real world you just have to say, “Do it because I said so!”