Sue Gerhardt writer of the book Why Love Maters wrote, “the kind of brain that each baby develops is the brain that comes out of his or her experiences with other people.” Children are learning all the time from the modelling of kindness, fairness and what love looks through their interaction with all the people in their lives. They are using this information to form their own theories about love and how to live in community with other people.
The message for teachers - focus on what you value, write about it, acknowledge it and most of all model it.
This is the Learning Story I wrote for Diamond, a child I had never meet before. Diamond had a wonderful sense of what it means to make sure someone feels welcomed into her early childhood centre.
Diamond you were so kind to me today when I visited the centre. You noticed me wandering through the room, came up to me, asked who I was looking for, took my hand and said follow me. What wonderful manaakitanga Diamond, as you made sure I felt welcomed and not left to wander on my own. Thank you for awhi/support.
A little later in the morning I was sitting with my notebook, which Levi had just written in, you noticed this and asked if you could also draw in my book. You drew me a butterfly and then asked if I had a mum. To which I replied “yes”. You said, “Tell her I drew this for you.” Next you wanted to know my name so you could write it in the book. It takes maximum focus, indestructible desire and buckets of coordination to practise when you are writing Diamond. Here you are writing out my name which you can see in the top left hand corner of the butterfly picture. What does this tell me about you? You are obviously determined to complete tasks that have value to you Diamond.
What learning I think is happening here.
Diamond, as I reflected on this moment I thought about what inspires children to write. Maybe it starts with a name, whether it is your own name or a name of a friend or whānau member. Learners learn new skills and knowledge through having the indestructible desire to do so, a disposition of determination to complete something. Before that starts though there has to be a reason to want to try, a reason to want to do something new. In the case of you writing my name, you tried really hard to get the letter shapes right on the page because it was part of making me feel included, it was part of your kindness. So what inspired your learning today Diamond? I think it was your kindness toward a visitor.
Thank you Diamond.
Words matter we all know this, the little video below demonstrates this, while also demonstrating that the kindness of a stranger can make a difference.