"falling off a horse going down a hill..."

most days are oh-so-happy-joyful-silly.
Spending my days with young children is the gift of my professional life. It is like nothing else. It is like no other kind of food.

The days and moments with young children are wondrous, magical, hilarious, touching, powerful, joyful.

And, there IS a however.
Not all days can be like the wondrous, magical, joyful ones. It is just how life works.

Some days are difficult, maybe just in a moment, but less wondrous than anyone would want. In particular, some days are not perfectly joyful for children (not just teachers). It is just how life works.

The day of this particular story was one of THOSE days.
The YEAR of this particular story was one of those years where the group of children and teachers had more challenges together. Sometimes, it is just the way it is, no fault of a specific child or teacher or guardian. Sometimes, it is just how personalities vibe together that are challenging - like a recipe that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

The difficult day had challenges by one four-year-old boy who had had challenges all year.
He had difficulty saying goodbye to his mother that morning - screaming, crying, flailing.
He had challenges making choices for his own play - running in circles, disrupting others' play, yelling.
He had challenges outside on the playground - running through games, throwing bark, poking children. The day for the boy continued to be challenging.

Within the scope of the boy's day, teachers and peers tried to support his energy, give him space to unfurl his frustrations, offer invitations to join a game or activity, and interpret his difficulties in a compassionate way to help him through or out of his frustrations. 
As a class group, we had been working all year on COMPASSION - on understanding that we are all uniquely different and have our own feelings and interests and ways of communicating. 
We had been working all year on respecting each other and valuing each of our contributions to the group. It may sound 'heavy' but it was necessary and quite effective in our discussions as a group. The children as a whole were remarkably compassionate and reflective on how some days  - even at home - we each can be "grumpy" or "mad" or "not right".

This was our day. Full of grumpy and mad and frustration by this one boy. Full of screaming and flailing and disruption.

[You may wonder why this boy stayed at school. You may wonder how this difficult day was allowed to continue.]
It is the way of a school to support to the highest degree sometimes. Other times, perhaps a school sends a child home for a low-grade fever because it is required by law for good health of all at school Yet, with children and teachers in a preschool setting, the actions of each of us and coping and understanding is PART OF THE CURRICULUM
It is school. And, it is how life goes sometimes.

The day happened. Even though it was the one particular boy's difficult day, it was a day that we all endured because we were there, we were there, we were there. 
As a class group, we had discussions about those kinds of days so that all children would feel respected for trying to help each other, for each person trying to still have their own good day, for trying to be compassionate in the way we can be at age four and five (and thiry-something).

We always ended our school days together with "Good Thoughts" for the day. That day was no different:
"I loved painting on the easel"
"I loved playing soccer on recess"
"I loved reading 'Frog and Toad' and drawing the characters"

The next day at school was somehow CALM. No one ever understood the why of it. Some days were just like that. Calm, gentle, friendly. 
At the end of that day, as we got ready to leave the classroom to greet our parents outside, we shared our "Good Thoughts" again. I had offered to the class that today felt a bit better in my heart and I gave thanks for all of us being together.
And then five-year-old friend James said in agreement,
"Yea, today was much better than yesterday!
Yesterday was like...

Yes, James, exactly. Some days are like that.


  1. Little James was very lucky to have so much encouragement and compassion during his struggling day. I love his metaphor that he used describing what a challenging day yesterday was! What an amazing and inspiring story!

  2. @Jeri - thanks for the comments. James was a friend of the boy who had the super tough day, yet we ALL had a tough day along with him just as James articulated so beautifully.

  3. I'm so glad I found your blog! I've always enjoyed your work - now that I have a 4 yr old, I appreciate it even more. Keep writing & I'll keep reading!
    laura (your housemate from years ago)
    ps Happy birthday!

  4. @laura! you found me and my blog, on my birthday no less :) thank you!! please email me at my gmail address and we can catch up - jeannezuech@gmail.com


Please share your ideas, comments and feedback! Thanks!