public school

13. Our Reactions are Funny Facial Expressions to Kids

jose-ibarra-297117I was inspired by a video clip of a father making funny faces to his baby and the baby was laughing hysterically.

This reminder me of a time when I did something similar with a three year old – where I would make these random silly faces and the boy would laugh hysterically. 

The faces I made where exaggerated expressions – emphasized expressions of surprise, fear, silliness. I would in the moment really use / push my face to intensely express myself and to provoke laughs.

From this, I had been looking at how we as adults probably do look ridiculous when we go into reactions – how what we experience inside is translated and seen on the outside through our facial expressions and body language.  Like for example anger – how we can pull our face down, our brow furrows, we go into a deep frown. If we freeze it it may actually look hilarious / funny, just as if we were in a state of extreme fear. How our eyes bulge out wide, our mouth drop open – it can look really funny to a child.

Perhaps when we go into these emotional experiences we do “look” funny because maybe what we are going through is silly / funny — For example getting angry at a spill on our shirt, or being stubborn and saying you know how to do something when you don’t. So little things like that can be silly if we really look at it — especially if they are small / futile things that really don’t matter. 

 

Recommended Resources:

DIP Lite – Free Self-Development Course

EQAFE.com – Self-Perfection Merchandise

School of Ultimate Living – Life Creation through Words

 

Additional Support:

Parenting – Perfecting the Human Race

Extraordinary Parenting: Leila Zamora Moreno

Teacher’s Journey to Life with Anna Brix Thomsen

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7. How Not to be a Killjoy

photo-1437955010382-7b8721d5c977Killy joy: A person who spoils the enjoyment of others

In the kindergarten I work at, it is difficult for children to go outside of the box and use the classroom materials for their own exploration and creativity (unless it’s painting or drawing, but even within that there are certain rules such as not drawing on the table/easel).  The reason for this is because the materials we have are specifically designed for a child to use them a certain way. Even simple tasks like cleaning an orange press, we as teachers have these steps to show them.

When things get out of hand, meaning, when the child does not do what we asked or showed them to do, we tend to reprimand them – sometimes with a scowl, or a frown, sometimes changing our voice tonality to match the disapproval or even judging and shouting at them for what they’ve done.

But have we ever stepped back and just observed what they did? To see if whether that moment with the child was an expression of their own creativity and going outside the box?

Take for example these real situations that happened in my classroom:

  1. Two boys were washing glasses, and one of the boys decided to put water in his hair. The other boy saw how it changed the shape of the boys hair, so helped shape the hair into a style. Laughing, they played with the boy’s hair.
  2. A child sees himself in a mirror and starts dancing, doing cartwheels, watching himself perform tricks.
  3. A child (instead of washing the juicing equipment) set the equipment up in the sink in a way where when he turns on the water, the water goes through the equipment, creating a new structure for water to go into the sink. He called other children to see his invention.

How did we as teachers respond?  Basically what you would expect – a lot of no’s and stop that’s, telling what the child should do next.

When we adults/teachers see these sort of things, we tend to immediately think they are rebelling against the classroom rules, and we react, stop them, and/or tear them away from the situation. We don’t and cannot take that step back to see the natural creativity that came forth because is not within school rules and we don’t have time to look deeper. We got 20+ kids to manage! How do we even have time to look at the potentials and strengths of the child?

In creative – out of box situations like these, children are not deliberately rebelling from us/classroom rules but actually forget about the rules because they get so caught up in the moment, engaged in a new approach/way of working with something and just go for it — using the opportunity to try it out. The new moment of creation for children is more important than the old classroom rules/what they are ’suppose’’ to do, because it’s new and that process is fun for them. Though a point to mention is yes, sometimes their creations may create outflows that will disrupt the flow of the classroom environment (such as a child gets excited about what they discover and get the other children excited and classroom work is disrupted).

BUT – How many times do we as adults have an idea on something to try out/do and just go for it? Not so many… we tend to hold back and don’t go forward with things because we allow thoughts and memories of past failures limit us from just TESTING and SEEING what is possible…

I’d say, children are naturally creative in that they can make new things out of something we as adults think are used/meant for one purpose. The problem is when our way of thinking get in the way of child’s natural creativity and we become these authority figures that stop or ‘kill’’ the joy and opportunity for the child to continue exploring this new way of using the material.

I’ve been seeing these moments of creativity in children more and more when I’m around them, where they will use classroom materials in ways not meant to be used according to what we as teachers want, and — as much as I want to allow them to continue — I cannot , due to my job position, which is why I am currently trying to find ways where I can direct the child to perhaps continue this sort of exploration/creativity in another environment.

For example, I told V, this one child who placed a cup over the faucet to watch how the water came out that perhaps he can do this at home, but not here in the kindergarten. So I in a way approached it (as best I could) gently, communicating that this type of creativity may be possible in the home environment, but not here. Even writing this now, I  could have specified my approach by re-iterating the procedure on how we wash glasses in the kindergarten, and that there may be different procedures at home so ask your mom and dad if it’s ok to do this…

The problem is, with managing 20+ children in a classroom, staff members cannot actually allow children to freely express and test things out for themselves unconditionally, because they are in a confined environment with items/materials and thus rules need to be applied – however, are these rules in the best interest of children, where their mind, being and body are taken in consideration? No way! We have for CENTURIES formed our classroom rules based on our (adult-teacher) preferences, likes and wants. No where do we take the children 100% into consideration.

I say, a major change needs to take place. We need to uproot the current education system, get to understand more of the child’s mind, being and body and see how we can shape and design the future for children.

The best resources to start is studying the Parenting Series (even if you are not a parent!) and walking your own understanding of how human consciousness works through DIP Lite.

5. From Reacting to Understanding

children montessori reacting to understanding helping them fufill a needI had for a long time reacted to 4 year old V for his behavior and difficulty listening to teachers and children. He is different in that he cannot connect easily with the school materials and/or with other children by socializing.

What started happening was V began to give a lot of physical contact to the teachers and children, where he would randomly go up to a children and try to kiss them on the cheek, lips, or arm. Children would react to this, yelling or hitting him to go away, and so we as teachers started to teach V about space and asking before kissing children. This helped to an extent but then V continued with the physical attention without asking.

One day I looked deeper at the point, looking at human needs, and what this child’s behavior is showing me about needs he wants fulfilled. I saw V needed personal attention and physical touch as groundedness, which was what he was trying to do for himself by kissing and touching children, but it was bringing consequence to him.

Sunette from EQAFE.com showed me how V is an emotionally oriented child and does require personal attention because it is what he needs and by me supporting this need will support him with less consequences. One example to support him is sitting with him and reading a book for example, where we act out certain parts from the book (the character jumps so we physically jump) — making the together time a physical activity thing supporting him to stay grounded in the physical (so it’s not just all mental like reading and looking at pictures) but combining the mental, physical and potential education for him.

By supporting V to fulfill his need of attention, this can assist him to settle down within himself and not need so much attention from others, which then lessens consequences. Then additionally V now can move on to fulfill another need that will support him in reaching his utmost potential the more he develops/walks in life.

So for me, I have been shifting my focus to reacting to V to observing V — asking myself what does he NEED, what is his (problematic) behavior showing me that I can support himself with?

I got to apply this point of supporting him when V started to cause conflict between two boys. He kept poking them and being in their space when they were telling him to stop and go away. I used the opportunity to invite V to help me with laundry, since all the other children were busy. V came with me, and I showed him how the dryer works, and had him participate with me in taking the lint off of the lint catcher and putting clothes in the dryer.  We talked and I made sure he was engaged in the task. Once we were finished we went upstairs to look for something, then eventually we went back downstairs where V was more calmer and went to join children drawing.

So, this was a cool point to realize for myself, to shift focus from reacting to understanding – asking myself what does this child need, how can I support him…and find ways to get the child involved mentally and physically by fulfilling his need.  If we as adults practice and apply this consistently for our children, we support them in developing their self-stability, talents and self-awareness.

Thanks for reading.

3. What Really Goes on in the Classroom?

Q5FJUK9OFHI attended a parent’s evening where the other teachers and I got to give presentations on what we do with the children and answer questions for the parents.

One of the teachers I work with shared a new pattern that has been developing with children in our classroom – and that is children judging and critiquing other children’s work by calling names in a negative sense, like for example a boy saying to another boy’s painting ”that is kitsy kratsy” – an expression basically meaning that work is babyish/like scribble.

When the teacher spoke and acted out the words as the boy (”kitsy kratsy”) at the meeting, the parents in the room laughed.  This was an interesting behavior that I did not expect from them, and perhaps it was because I forgot for a moment that the parents do not get to experience what it’s like in the classroom, and that to see the reality and the outflows when children make fun of each other’s work is actually not funny and we have a as teachers/staff have to deal with it.

Sure it may seem funny when the teacher pretends to be a child and act out the calling of names, but when you’re actually experiencing it by seeing other children say these remarks and comments towards another with the intent of getting some form of attention or to trigger reactions in another child — it’s actually not something to laugh about.  The result of a child crying or becoming upset is not fun to see and experience, and if the parent saw their own child having their work being made fun of/criticized/judged by others I’m sure they would not be laughing too.

One problem from this is how parents/child caretakers are very much separated and unaware of the social interactions that go on in the classroom, and I really think they should be aware of their child’s daily interactions with others because it is through daily interactions children have with the environment and other people that they develop themselves by seeing what is accepted and allowed and ok, and from this act on what they see others do.

If we have parents/teachers/adults allow bullying and name-calling to go on in the environment without intervention, children will continue to do it because they see it as ok.  If we find these things funny and not so serious to deal with, this may damage the child more than we may realize.  But the problem is is that we are not skilled or prepared (as teachers/parents, etc) on how to deal and handle conflict effectively to the point where we can support a child to stop and change a behavior completely that is best for all.  In the classroom I work in, we have intervened, though it has been difficult getting through to the child to stop the behavior/pattern completely — where the child will repeat it the next day. There seems to be an addiction to triggering other’s reactions by name-calling and bullying, and perhaps it is because of the nature we as adults exist in being addicted to the positive and emotional energies of the mind.

So, before I get off track, I’d like to get back to my point and that is how parents/caretakers are not aware of what goes on in the classroom as much as teachers/school staff, and I really think the parents should be aware 100% of how their child is acting in the classroom and interacting with students, because there is only so much teachers can do — we can direct, intervene, share knowledge, but it is really the parents that require to be just as attentive, supportive and aware of how the child is in the classroom because only then can they see what they need to align in themselves and their lives because however and whoever the parent is in their self-expression in how they exist for their child will influence the child, and the child will act according to how they have been brought up and witnessed in their parents and act it out in the classroom (and in life too).

Yet parents have to work to make money/survive and the education system is exactly set up to allow parents to fulfill their daily jobs while the children are taken care of by teachers. I really truly believe the best education a child can receive is from their parents, where parents really show and stand as examples of what it is like to treat others the way they want to be treated and live life in respect of oneself and the world. This to me is ideal, because if the parent is sound and stable in who they are and they through their living actions and words show their child how to live and act, that will influence and strengthen the child positively, that will send ripples throughout the world.

At this time parents and caretakers must go to work and use their time away from their child to perform duties simply to make money to survive. Despite this, there are courses and information parents can read and utilize from the (little) time they may have to assist them in understanding how to take care of oneself and one’s child in thought, word and deed in a way where the ripples of one’s action is a step to making this world a better place.  They can listen to parenting recordings on EQAFE, learn how to live through the power of words, and take a free self-developmental course.