Ho! Ho! No?
It is almost Christmas…we SHOULD be adorning the classroom with green and red. We SHOULD be putting up a tree. We SHOULD be making ornaments. We SHOULD be reading, singing, writing all things Christmas. So why is one classroom studying dinosaurs? And, why is another exploring magnets, ramps, and pathways?
In a classroom where reflective teaching is practiced, teaching staff intentionally observe and document children’s interests. They will then plan instructional activities that support those interests while thoughtfully considering what and how to provide meaningful experiences which will best support the developmental levels of their children.
In her February, 2013 article, “Can Reflective Practice Guide Me In Making Better Decisions For My Early Childhood Classroom?”, Marilyn Rice maintains:
When we reflect on our teaching practices we can also ask ourselves questions that can be as broad as defining our role as a teacher in supporting children’s learning or as specific as what picture book to read to introduce the concept of feelings. We might think about the content of the material we are presenting to young children and consider if the activity is developmentally appropriate. Early childhood teachers make decisions each day in the classroom when we teach. Sometimes we make decisions on the spur of the moment, out of habit or by instinct. Reflecting on what and how we teach assists us in becoming more thoughtful, intentional and effective in our classrooms each day with young children. (http://www.ttacnews.vcu.edu/2013/02/reflectivepractice)
Does this mean that there will be no talk of Christmas or reading Christmas books or singing Christmas songs? Not at all…it means that these may be secondary to the children’s current interests. It can be tough to let go of what we believe should happen in classrooms during the Christmas season. But, as reflective teachers, we must ask ourselves, “Are we going to do a Christmas theme because it is expected or are we going to support children’s current interests and allow them to guide their experiences?”