I have been thinking and reading this week about change. As we wait for a possible change in leadership for our nation’s highest office, All Five’s 3 and 4-year-olds and their teachers are undergoing a change of their own: On Monday morning, after weeks and months of planning and preparing, we welcomed 8 more children to our community and divided into a “West Pod” and an “East Pod”. Children and teachers in West Pod use a familiar indoor space for lunch and napping and an unfamiliar outdoor space for the majority of the day. Children and teachers in East Pod use a familiar outdoor space for the majority of the day, and an unfamiliar indoor space for lunch and napping. We also welcomed a new teacher to our community.
These first few days as an expanded community we have observed each child’s ability to adapt to this change. We, the staff, see ourselves in the children’s responses. Some of us are anxious or even a bit angry about the change, crying for the loss of a familiar face, expressing disappointment at not being able to be in a different space. Others are unfazed – even eager – to share the new experiences being had: a new friend or teacher, a new activity or way of doing something. Sometimes one of us will suddenly miss something from our former experience, and then move on.
The children remind us that we CAN change. In fact, we must change. When we come together around change and can embrace change, even in our fear and distrust, each of us has a new opportunity to give the best of what we have to offer. All Five teachers modeled those characteristics this week as they embraced the change and supported their colleagues. This is a practice they model for the children. We call it a “practice”, because we are always practicing ways to be our best selves. These attributes don’t always come to us naturally, as they don’t always come to young children naturally. So, as teachers and children, we are learning together; stiving to find and practice being our best selves. This is the fundamental goal of excellent early childhood education: to support each child’s striving to become a well-adjusted human being.
If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.