Preparing for Children

Each day in the life of an educator is a day of preparation. The day offers us the opportunity to prepare and create environments for children to explore their wonderings. We prepare documentation of children’s work by reading over notes looking at photographs and more often watching videos. We prepare for meals by shopping and planning menus. We prepare the environment for the transitions of the day from inside to outside from school to home. What part of class preparation do you value most?  What is the value of preparing yourself?

Some educators believe that classroom preparation is about reminding children to adopt rules and others believe preparation is about having a schedule to follow by the minute. I believe our real mission is to prepare ourselves to be of service to the children in our care. Our actions with children have more impact than any learning environment we create. When we are prepared to be an educator, our calmness, grace and attentiveness shine through. Then children who learn new skills in the classroom also learn how to treat others in the community.

How do educators prepare for the work of the day? In the book Start With Why, by Simon Sinek, the author writes how people in all walks of life focus more on the “What” than the “Why” as the motivating factor in their lives. Mr. Sinek continues that if we focus on “Why” this creates our purpose, our cause of belief, and the real reason we take action. This approach is an inside/out way of thinking, instead of the superficial outside/in seeking pleasure kind of thinking.

In an example from the classroom, if we emphasize the “What”--- then a list of classroom rules would be our guiding light for all children to follow-no questions asked---instead of the“Why”--- which is the value of our actions and how they influence the people in our environment in a positive or negative way. The first is an environment of closed thinking and the second is an environment of community building, problem solving and creative thinking.

Educators have a choice in how we prepare ourselves to work in the lives of children. We can use our preparation time to create another project or provocation or we can come prepared to be our best self. We can do some inner work and look at our practice and discover if we do it for the “What” the thing we get out of it or for the “Why” the inner motivation that being an educator offers us. If we choose to discover the “Why” we receive the gift of helping others, making a difference and improving lives.

What is your motivation to be an educator is it a “What” or a “Why”?