” High-quality early childhood programs play an important role in supporting children’s developing sense of self, autonomy and competence. A safe environment that offers consistency and continuity as well as graduated support for children’s growing independence and capacity for self-care enables children to tackle challenges….” ~ How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years, Page 30
One day, as I was taking the cart out of the room after lunch, Byron came and assisted me to push it to the door. Normally, we put our cart just outside the door and Betty, our Nutrition Specialist, comes to collect it. This day, however, Byron wouldn’t let go of the cart in the hallway. He kept pushing; insisting that we keep going down the hall towards the kitchen. So, I followed him, curious about his intentions. When we reached the kitchen he turned in. Betty was crouched down at the fridge and Byron met her at eye level. When Betty thanked Byron he responded with a great big grin.
Every day, this is Byron’s routine. Now he anticipates our snack and lunch times and is always ready and eager. Byron is now bringing the cart into the room, taking the food off the trays and putting it on the counter. He patiently waits through cleanup so that he can take the cart back down the hall to the kitchen. Byron has come to know the details of our mealtime routines and he now leads these transitions in our classroom. He has initiated new roles and jobs that he is interested in and that he feels competent to offer.
As educators, we identify with this need for children to develop a sense of wellbeing. We support children’s growing autonomy and confidence by stepping back and letting them take the lead in their own pursuits. This results in children developing a strong sense of self and an understanding of their own competence. It is important to us, and more important for them, that every child sees themselves as a valuable contributor and citizen.
Brenda Mac Alpine RECE, Compass ELC Victoria Graduate Infant Program, Lindsay
June 1, 2016
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