Saturday, October 23, 2010

Done That!

"I want you to read this one!" Inevitably it is the book you've read a million times. How could a child not get bored of the same story over and over? Aren't they craving something new? The short answer is no, not really. This is why daily rhythms are such an important part of our curriculum. Repetitions provides comfort. Think of chanting "OM" while meditating or for me it was praying a rosary. After repeating the "Hail Mary" fifty times, you are not so much saying it, you are almost singing or chanting it. There is something soothing in the chant, the repetition. It's calming and soothing. Try reading Green Eggs and Ham about 100 times and you'll notice that you find your rhythm immediately. "I am Sam. Sam I am."

Children that are even five and six years old are still so new to the world. There is still so much that they need to learn and so much that is out of their control. Rhythms, whether it's following a daily routine or listening to the same story brings a sense of peace and comfort to their day. A moment to relax and calm down. They have a sense of control because they know exactly what will come next. Your tone, your facial expression, the next word, it's completely predictable. They feel they are in control of something in their environment.

I have a young pupil at Ivy League-West and everyday when I sing, "It's clean up time." This young pupil says, "so we can have circle time." "That's right, " I respond. When we set the table for lunch, he says, "and when we are done we'll have nap time?" "Yes, that is what we will do."
It thrills me that he has come to expect what follows. I see that knowing what comes next bring a sense of security to the children. For me following a rhythm eliminates discipline issues. When one thing follows the next everyday, there is no room for argument.

So the next time your child asks you to read their favorite book for the umpteenth time, go ahead and read it. It's good for both of you. However if you are a real thrill seeker you may make a deal to read one they pick and then one you pick. Just be prepared to read the one you pick over and over as it may quickly become a new favorite.



Some favorite Autumn books to add to your repertoire:

Wild Child

The Little Yellow Leaf

Flora's Very Windy Day

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf