Where is the Teacher Sitting?
Updated: Aug 28, 2018
Where is the teacher sitting? Take it from someone who's been in the early childhood biz for a while, this is something important to look for when shopping for a preschool... Early childhood educators don't sit very often - we don't have a desk in our classroom and we continually move around to observe, guide, and play with the children in our care. An attentive teacher gets involved with the children in a particular area, the block area, for example, for a brief time. She will gently ease herself out of the play to promote more child child interactions. All the time watching to be sure the children are playing in a constructive and purposeful manner. If you visit a school where teachers are stationed at a table or don't seem to move around very much, you may wonder what are they teaching about? Effective early educators support and promote constructive play among children, pretty much all day long. They facilitate and model how to play creatively and purposefully - even constructive pretend play needs to be learned. As they move throughout the different areas of the classroom, teachers observe who is wandering, being left out of the play, dominating the play, whose voice isn't being heard. A skilled practitioner knows a great deal about play, and knows that sitting at a table doesn't really support it. When observing circle-time, take notice of where the teacher is sitting. Is she in a chair above and separated from the children, or is she sitting on the floor, as a partner with them? Once you become enrolled and participate in a parent teacher conference, notice where the teacher sits there too - is there a table or a desk separating you from her? Is she talking with you as a partner, or as an all-knowing expert, as you discuss the care and education of your child? Just as body language can say as much as words, placing desks and tables between parents and teachers at conference time says something too. It can be seen as a kind of barrier that says, "I'm the expert here." "I know more about your child than you do." When educators partner up with children and parents, something wonderful happens...a sense of respect and value begins to grow and flourish. When an educator sits next to children on the rug and removes that barrier at conference time, she promotes a sense of equal importance. And when all three players (child, parent, and teacher) are in the game, everybody wins.