“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?