Piaget suggests that it is not the role of the teacher to correct a child from the outside, but to create conditions in which the student corrects himself. What does that look like in early childhood education? When you are about to “insert” yourself, stop and ask “Am I directing this moment?” “How can I support the child, what conditions can I create?” ” Does the environment support the child’s development in this area?” By giving time and space to this idea before actions occur, will behavior look different?”
A concrete example might help. Think of a classroom with 12 three-year-olds. In the class there are three trucks that children fight over. You have a choice, you can insert yourself saying things like: “Take turns.” “You need to share.” ” Sometimes you need to wait.” We often think we are “teaching” children to share but we often are faced with young children who are frustrated, defeated, and confused by our words. Brain science tells us that an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex makes sharing difficult for young children. (Scientific American Mind, July/August 2012) With that in mind, it makes sense that our words have no effect.
Or you could stop and ask yourself, “What conditions in the environment would support the children?” “Would additional trucks bring joy to the children ?” Then model sharing when it naturally occurs, setting a good example that will have more impact. What are your thoughts on this?