One Sunflower

one of the hidden lessons of preschool

on May 1, 2012

“You have to have patience,” noted Salomon.
“Patience?  What’s patience?” asked Leopoldo.
“It’s being patient,” was Lila’s declaration.

(Preschoolers quickly learn new words and they even kind-of get the feelings behind the words – enough to use them correctly, most of the time.  But a definition, well, that might be stretching them a bit.)

All of that is beside the point. This year, my students have become particularly aware of waiting and talk about it often. So it has become a hidden lesson in my classroom – a lesson that my students are teaching each other without any help from me.

I don’t remember when the above conversation took place or what they were being patient for but I remember my eyebrows going up when I heard it.  “Mmmmm,” I thought, “this is going to be a good lesson to watch develop.”

Since then I have become acutely aware of when my students have to exercise patience because they talk about it.

Examples my students have noted:
waiting for plates and utensils to be passed out at meal times – then waiting for the food
waiting to be excused after breakfast and lunch
waiting for white boards and markers
waiting for our classroom opportunity to perform at the assembly
waiting for a turn to be Child-the-Week – a really, really big challenge to one’s ability to be patient!

And now we have caterpillars in our classroom and the conversation is about being patient for them to become pupa, (which just happened over the weekend.)  Now we’ll all have to wait for them to emerge as butterflies.

Do you pay attention to the hidden lessons in your classroom?  What are they?


7 responses to “one of the hidden lessons of preschool

  1. Ruth Ayres says:

    Thanks for the challenge to consider the hidden lessons in classrooms. I’ll have to mull this one over. 🙂

  2. Somedays it feels as if the one concept we are working on most is “waiting,” as you watch young children try to muster the patience to wait for one’s turn in the bathroom, at the easel, to look at a particular book or toy, on and on. Have you found any good picture books for this? Patience is a virtue!

  3. djts says:

    It’s great how early children are able to pick up vocabulary when exposed to it. Even better when they can apply it!

  4. Betsy says:

    “Hidden lesson.” It is so true, we sometimes don’t recognize all the hidden lessons being taught, however, it is nice when we do see them.Waiting is such a good one too, applies to every facit of life!

  5. Tara says:

    You are an observant teacher…good for you that you recognize your hidden lessons.

  6. I try to pay attention to the hidden lessons in my classroom. What I need to get better at is following conversations over time to see how they develop and how the children teach each other what they each need to know. Of course, from my perspective as a teacher this “paying attention” gets into documentation or note taking of what is happening in the classroom.

  7. These may be hidden lessons, but the word patience is now ingrained in their thinking. I wish we had time for all lessons to be absorbed like this.

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