Saying YES more often (or at least not saying NO so often)

I try to say yes as often as I can.

It's not that I don't cringe when I see a small child use scissors or do yoga poses on top of a climbing structure.  I had to learn to back off and appreciate a child's experience as a means of learning.  Children learn a lot by experimentation, testing boundaries and pushing limitations.  As a teacher, I believe our number one job is to facilitate learning.  Sometimes that means setting up the environment, ensuring safety and just watching as the kids take matters into their own hands.  Often it means saying yes when I have a multitude of reasons to say no.

A recent example:  It's late in the afternoon and some of the kids have already gone home.  We have done countless activities for the day and we are all cleaned up and into the homestretch when someone comes over and wants to color.  I could say, "No, we are all cleaned up and going home soon."  But I don't.  I say, "YES."  Next someone asks to use scissors.  Again, I could say, "No, it's not safe." Instead I say, "YES" and I sit down to monitor safety.  A little later someone asks for tape.  Can you see where this is going?

This late afternoon activity turned into a wonderful, child initiated activity of drawing, cutting and taping letters and envelopes.  Not only did the children work on fine motor skills and problem solving.  They increased their abilities and self confidence in using materials that are typically used by (or with the help of) grownups.

Could someone have cut their little finger?  Yes.  Did we waste a ton of tape while they figured out how to manipulate it in a way that it didn't get all stuck together?  Yes.  Could we have done something else to pass the time?  Yes, but I'm so glad we didn't!

It took a lot of retraining my brain to convince myself to yes more often.  I find that when I do the kids are happy and so am I.



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