Monday, September 26, 2011

The Zen of Working With Very Small People

For the past month I've been working with very small people.  We're talking seriously small people.  So small they don't even talk yet.  At least not in any manner discernible to the average adult.  These wee ones are just beginning to experiment with the spoken word.  Lately, the most frequently used word in our classroom is "woof!" 

Most people wouldn't last an hour in this situation, let alone eight hours a day, five days a week.  It takes a hardy soul to keep from running out screaming.  Already I've had several colleagues ask how I get through the day without shooting myself.  (Of course, the answer to that is simple... guns are outside toys and not allowed at the Home for Wayward Wee Ones.) 

The key to survival is to attain a zen-like state in which you contemplate everything these small people do with a kind of wonder and reverence.  Their babbling becomes quite conversational if you listen closely.  I often wonder if it's a secret language that babies understand perfectly.  And their persistence in learning to do all the simple tasks of life that we take for granted is rather astounding when you stop to think about it.  Some successes may seem mundane while others are truly exquisite...

We have a long, low easel in our classroom on which paper is always available for exploring different media. Three of the children worked together over the course of several days to create this combination of watercolor, tempera and crayon.

I have no idea how long I'll be working with these four wee ones, aged 11-14 months old, but I'm trying to make the best of the time I have with them.  It's a physically exhausting job but there is a peace that comes when they are finally asleep with the lights turned down low and quiet music on in the background.  Rocking a small child to sleep can be a form of meditation when you match your breathing to the back and forth movement of the chair.  It certainly gives me time to think about what I want to do next with my life... 
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts with Thumbnails