Warming the Creative Classroom

A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.” – Horace Mann

No, I do not have a background in welding, but it doesn’t take an expert on hot and cold to know that cold iron cannot be shaped. Furthermore, it doesn’t take a blacksmith to tell us that iron doesn’t get warmed without a nice, consistent fire.

Such is the same with our classrooms and our families. As we explore the theme of “hot and cold” I propose that we consider the wisdom of Horace Mann, an education reformer who may or may not have agreed with the styles of Dr. Becky Bailey and Conscious Discipline but whose wisdom is useful to us nonetheless.

Looking at our classrooms this month, it is important that we work together to keep the child’s desire to learn nice and warm and under constant fire. Fire can often be seen as a forceful analogy (and the welding image probably doesn’t help) but overall, fire teaches us to be well-timed, use our resources wisely, and be consistent. This is in direct contrast to what can often happen at pre-school (or at home) where we are constantly “putting out fires” of chaos rather than “creating fires” of warmth.

For currently enrolled families, here are three tips for “warming the creative classroom” so your child will stay inspired and the teacher’s guidance about social and emotional intelligence will be gently received:

  1. Talk about your school family with your child.
  2. The child’s respect for the school family starts at home. Simply changing your language from “day care days” to “School Family Days” or “Frog Pond Family Days” will support your child’s healthy connection to the classroom: Only you can teach them that it is a “home away from home,” where they are nurtured and guided by caring teaching staff.

  3. Read your daily emails and reflect on them with your child.
    The daily reflection email will highlight child-directed play, books of interest and games that the children experience daily. This is especially helpful for children who are not full-time. Imagine how much more integrated their play could be if you tell them what their peers did while they were away!
  4. Schedule time to review the Conscious Discipline videos by Becky Bailey or attend a Becky Bailey viewing party.

    The 8-part video set is now available for weekend use, free of charge, to all currently enrolled families. Your awareness of our Conscious Discipline and commitment to this technique is crucial for your own success in the home and ours in school, so please familiarize yourselves with this philosophy.

Overall, we are not shaping the child directly with this analogy, but we are all responsible for the environment in which our children are being taught. The teachers have the primary responsibility during our operational hours but outside of those hours, there are endless ways for you to “warm that creative classroom.” As we work together to tend to this fire, we can expect 2012 to be a year that celebrates classrooms that are ablaze with creativity, compassion and curiosity.

Director of School Family/Center Operations

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