Yesterday I observed 6 isolated incidents. I am posting them here because I want to remember the feeling I got when I reflected on them.
I heard a child crying while being dropped off, I went over and tried to talk to him but he continued to cry. As I looked around, trying to decide what I could use to distract him, I realised I could not hear his cries anymore. I looked over and saw him enveloped in a hug by one of my returning 4 year olds. She held him and was patting his back. After a while, she let him go and they both proceeded to other activities.
We installed a new play structure yesterday. The children were excited about it and spent most of the outdoor time climbing and playing around it. The next three observations happened around it.
The children were all playing and climbing. Two of the toddlers got on the see saw but were unable to move it. A few seconds later, one of the older children (4) got off the jungle gym, went over to the seesaw and started moving them up and down until they were done. No one asked her, she just saw a need and took care of it.
One child figured out how to use the rope ladder as a swing. Two other children excitedly asked “how did you do that!?” “I don’t think I can do that.” He immediately jumped down and said “I can show you” and proceeded to show them one by one how to climb and swing on the rope ladder.
There were only two children both 5 years old on the playground. The older child was on the gym and looked uncertain and uncomfortable. I had missed the first part of the conversation but I heard the other child on the ground saying “don’t be afraid, you can do it. Just put one leg here and the other there. No move forward. Keep going, I know you can do it.” As she directed, he moved and she continued encouraging him until he made it to the other side and jumped with a huge grin on his face! He proceeded to repeat the process several time while she went back to her climbing and playing as the other children filtered out. I literally had tears in my eyes because I remembered how scared she too used to be to climb when she started here in January and now here she was, inspiring another child to try. She knew he could do it because she had been there before!
A child was whining and I asked him to please speak properly so I could hear. He repeated himself in the same whiny voice and I said “sorry but I still can’t hear you. As I waited, one of the other children who was working nearby came over and quietly whispers what the child was trying to say and then proceeded to help the child solve his issue.
At the end of the day, one of our new 3 year olds was looking for his outdoor shoes. Another 3-year-old who has been with us for a while said “I think I know where it is.” He proceeded to get it and helped the other child put it on.
All of these incidents happened on the same day and were probably only a small percentage of similar incidents throughout the day. While I noted them and was touched by each one, it wasn’t until I sat down to reflect at the end of the day that it really struck me. These were all the children who have been here since January. I observed each of them showing leadership, kindness, empathy, problem-solving at least once today. They were each exhibiting the outcomes that matter. These are outcomes that don’t reflect in any exams or tests but which form character, and remain a part of the child forever.
These last few weeks have been physically exhausting with settling in the new children but the transition has actually been fast and has gone so much better than I imagined. Reflecting on these instances reminded me of why I started Fruitful Orchard Montessori. My hope was to create a place where children would be nurtured to bear the fruits of the spirit… Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. It hasn’t even been a year yet and I can already see the blossoms and for that, I am grateful.
*The picture in the post shows a new 5 year old reading to a toddler before her nap. While this is not one of the incidents from the post, it illustrates the leadership and kindness described.