The children and their thinking below 5 years is very much focussed on the here and now and rooted in their own experiences. Often, the answers are to do with the child themselves, like ‘I love my mum because she cuddles me’, ‘she plays games with me’, ‘she buys me things’, ‘we ride our bikes together’ or ‘she makes my lunch’.
Helping children to put themselves in someone else’s shoes takes time and practice. Gift-giving is a great way to get them to start thinking beyond themselves. Choosing a gift or making a card that they think the other person – their mum, in this instance – would like means thinking about what colour mum likes, what she likes to do, what drawings she would enjoy seeing. And then, they can begin to understand the joy of giving a thoughtful gift to someone else, and that when you give to someone else you don’t also need to receive a gift – the gift is in the other person’s joy filling their bucket.
There are many opportunities in the ELC where we are able to help the children on a daily basis to think about another person’s perspective. In their play, this is through sharing, offering to help another child or an adult, and offering emotional comfort or support. Some children are more aware than others and have a strong, developed emotional intelligence and awareness, and others need support and encouragement to see beyond themselves.
Opportunities like Mothers Day celebrations, where the children have been planning and making with the room staff for days and weeks beforehand, are great times to focus outside of the individual child. We talk about keeping the ‘surprise’ (we no longer use the work secret as we don’t want children keeping secrets) and for many children the capacity to keep the surprise to themselves is a huge challenge – they are almost bursting. The planning, thought and preparation for these special events is a credit to the teaching team.
The opportunity to spend a short but focused period of time with your child coming to kindergarten in the evening is a very special memory that lives on for many years to come. This is often captured in the learning journal and slideshow as well.
According to the History Channel’s website, the official Mothers Day celebration ‘arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mothers Day as a way of honouring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.’ I hope all mothers at Carey feel appreciated and loved this Mothers Day.
Director of ELC Kew