About the time I was born a new show began called Ding Dong School. The show always began with Miss Frances, the hostess of the show, ringing her school bell to call the children to the piece of rug in front of the newfangled television. I pulled up a segment of the show on YouTube and I swear Miss Frances must have been on quaaludes or something. She was so calm and mellow and spoke so slowly, I can't believe she kept my attention as a toddler. Seriously... 30 seconds of watching Miss Frances and you'll be begging for a commercial.
As a pre-school teacher myself, I'm sure the kids in my class would eat her alive. I mean, she just spent four whole minutes blowing freakin' bubbles in this clip. (I certainly don't expect you to watch the entire thing... that would be cruel and unusual punishment.)
And yet, her method of madness has its value. She's the consummate listener, despite the fact that she can't hear a damn thing any of the kiddies are saying at home. She takes time to listen, to hear children's fears about the dentist and thoughtfully show the children how the bubbles work. She makes sure the children have been heard and understand before she moves on. Maybe that comes from that fact that Miss Frances's first career was as a child psychologist.
Nowadays, it seems you need all sorts of bells and whistles to get kids' attention. We really do live in a different world than Miss Frances's. That's one of the reasons I've chosen a path that has taken me to alternative educational settings. It allows me to take time to listen to children, to let them have a choice in the things they want to explore, to help them learn how to listen to their friends and to develop empathy. It also gives me the opportunity to sit back and observe the children, to watch them make exciting discoveries on their own.
As Plato said, "...the beginning is the most important part of the work." To work with very young children is a challenge worth taking. So Miss Frances, you may be a bit of a snore, but this toast is for you. *raises glass of wine*
Just one question... do you suppose Miss Frances is the one who put the ram in the ramma lamma ding dong?