It’s the Process, Not the Product
As a new preschool teacher, creating and teaching a brand new Buddings curriculum, for me, it really is all about the process. My job requires continual reflection, as I inquire into what worked and what didn’t work, what kinds of activities excite the kids, how to best spark their interest, how to help them connect and communicate with each other, and the list goes on and on… I feel like I could spend as much time reflecting on teaching as I do actually teaching.
But it’s in the process and experience of teaching and trying new approaches that I learn, and the same is true for the kids. I’m discovering more and more, that it’s not the product or end result that indicates growth. The finished product might look nice and certainly has value in that it can be shared with others, but the actual learning occurs in the process itself.
Sharing conversation about what we are creating is one highly effective way to focus on the process and expand the discovery that is taking place. Having the kids share with me and with each other about their experience has been one of the most rewarding parts of the job!
We began our exploration of “A Winter Journey” this month by decorating the preschool room with tie dye snowflakes! Although the snowflakes look great on our windows, the most exciting part for me was being a part of the kids’ discovery that every single snowflake is unique, just like them!
After exploring different depictions of winter landscapes by Canadian artist Ted Harrison, we collaboratively created our own winter landscape on one of the preschool windows. I loved the conversations we had about what we wanted to include! Can you spot the river, the baby polar bear, the ice skaters, the mountains and the falling snow?
We ended the week by discussing how a special fat called blubber keeps animals like polar bears and whales warm in extreme cold. The kids got to experience for themselves how a layer of ‘blubber’ (vegetable shortening) would help keep their hands warm in a bowl of ice water!
Engaging kids in the process of discovery can sometimes be messy, but it sure is worth it to make learning concrete, real and memorable for them!