When we first started teaching many years ago, we often felt pressure to be the experts in the room...always knowing what to do, what to say, how to answer all of the children’s questions (and they have a lot of questions!), and how to maintain a sense of control as the adult in charge. But as we grew in our practice, we learned how to step back and to observe with awe what young children can do. And the more we stepped back, the more we came to appreciate the magic of the early years.
Young children can dream and imagine and play and build and create and love in ways that we adults have long forgotten. When we acknowledge that they have so much more to teach us than we could teach them, we start to shift the power dynamic and earn the trust of the children in our care. We demonstrate humility and curiosity and embrace the opportunity to learn from each other. We regard every child as a valuable member of our community, and we commit to seeing differences and challenges as opportunities to learn and grow ourselves.
When we receive children in wonder, we experience a shift from teacher to observer, from evaluator to marveller, and from outsider to partner. We ask ourselves: What wonderful thing will they teach me today? What magic will I be lucky to observe? What barriers will I learn to overcome as I get closer to seeing them exactly as they wish to be seen?