Let Them Be Children

Today at a meeting we discussed the inhibition of children.  Little children.  Children who have not started school yet.  Think about watching a young child play, or react, or do anything.  They give 110% of themselves to the event.  In play that looks like imagination and sounds and movement.  In reacting that looks like tears and whole body stomping or laughter and a face covering smiling. Kids LIVE their lives.

So what happens?  When do we teach children they must contain that?  When do we say blend in?  Don’t be unique?  Act like this?  I have always been proud (and sometimes jealous) of my daughter because she wears what she wants. She has a unique sense of fashion and puts on what is comfortable and makes her feel pretty.  At 9-years-old this is still true.  And I really hope that does not change (yes, this may be re-evaluated in her teen years).  I really hope she grows up to keep this confidences and play in her life.

In my classroom we celebrate differences.  We openly discuss what is hard for us, what makes us happy and what we do well.  While I do have expectations and set limits, I try to remember my fourth graders are children.  I try to understand when they wiggle and are loud.  I try to remember indoor recess means less movement.  But there is always the pressure to learn and move through the checklist of tasks to be done which creates the stress to teach them to not be children.

This week, every time I want to say be quiet or sit still I will try to let them be children.  I will create opportunities for movement, give them time to discuss and let them create.  It all goes too fast so we need to let them be children.  Despite what adults do, they will grow up.  So while they can, let’s let them be children.

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