Sometimes I am hard on myself as an educator.
There are so many things to consider and so many ways I can impact the children in the classroom. Am I doing enough to support the children? Can I do more?
I know that I am not alone in these thoughts, and that many parents and caregivers ask themselves the same questions: “am I making enough time? Am I being a good parent and guide to my child? Does the effort I put in make a real difference?”
The other day I noticed a child was sitting on her own away from the main classroom. I found her at the window by the doorway – she was crying softly.
I went down on my knees and I sat with her, asking what was wrong. She told me she missed mummy.
During this time in the other room the group was transitioning from one moment in the day to the next and this was a busy time, but I could see this little girl needed to connect with someone who cared. Her heart was hurting and I empathized with her because I have missed someone to tears before myself. So we sat together and I reached out my arms and held her. We looked out through the window and didn’t speak for a long time. After a time I noticed she was no longer crying.
A minute or two later, her best friend walked over to us and asked what was the matter – I told her that her friend was missing mummy. The friend sat beside us and lay on my arm as well, and we were all quietly together for a while. Feeling supported and cared for and that was all.
After five minutes or so I invited her to stand up if she and her friend were ready to join the classroom with me and she did.
Moments like this have an unspeakable value. As educators in a well respected school, it’s our job to be thinking about emergent curriculum opportunities, or using our knowledge of childhood development and educational philosophies to help the children learn and grow, but the simple truth of being a teacher for young children is that the most important thing we give to them is our love and attention.
Decades of attachment research and life outcome analysis studies have shown that connection with a trusted caregiver, whether that person be a parent, a teacher, or another close individual, is the most positively impactful part of a young life. If you find time to connect with your child and show them you are there for them, then you are succeeding as a caregiver.