Week of October 28, 2019 / 29 Tishri 5780 Bravery, Grit, Resilience What Happens When Educators Trust Their Students?
When educators trust their students, there will be bathroom chains. Let me explain. As you know, our educational philosophy and mission in the ECC is informed by the Project Approach. To follow this approach, educators must inherently trust and respect their students, as it is the students’ ideas that determine units of study. Educators discern areas of interest and motivation by observing what our students “do” as they play. Through multiple observations of Activity Times in centers like Blocks, Art, Dramatic Play, and Writing, educators begin to cultivate projects that will captivate students for three to four weeks.
Each week, Pam and I meet with the educator teams from each classroom to discuss students and curricula. During this time, we bounce ideas around and ensure that projects we will move ahead with all align with our philosophy and remain true to our mission.
Last week, one team introduced the idea of a “bathroom chain.” As accustomed as I have become to marveling at how our educators empower students through various classroom routines, I felt unusually inspired by this one.
Educators observed that children were forgetting to use the bathroom and there were some accidents. Instead of imposing a time when everyone must try to use the bathroom, these educators stopped, reflected, and gave the children agency. They explained that after a child uses the bathroom, it is his/her responsibility to remind a friend to use the bathroom, and so on. In other words: a bathroom chain. While this may sound like a small tweak in classroom routines, it holds meaning and respects our philosophy.
Children are getting to know their bodies and how they work. The educators placed the trust on the children to know their bodies and to help their friends get to know their own bodies. The power shifted back into their hands because the educators trusted them.
As I listened, I felt newly inspired to continue educating parents and educators on the idea that when educators trust their students, magic happens. Children take risks both in learning and in their relationships, discoveries occur, thinking and problem-solving abound, and we truly give our students the freedom to “do” and to learn.