listen to me!

nathan calls to me about The Tigers!
One of my most powerful memories of Becoming The Teacher I Want To Be was when I first listened -  really really listened - to my 2-year-old friend Nathan. Read the full story of Nathan and the Tigers here.

In the outside play yard one day, Nathan called to me...
"Come, come...come help me look for the tigers in the big tree! Come, come. The tree tigers are calling to us and we need to find them in the tree! Come, come, come!"

This calling to me changed who I was as a teacher, it changed my relationship with Nathan, it changed how I engaged with children for all the years forward in my career.

Nathan's calling to me made me start to deconstruct what he was telling me and understand better where he was in his development. I could start to hear Relationship, Imagination, Sense of Self, Focused Play, Role Play & Socio-Dramatic Scenarios.

listening to children is a treasure.

Last week in the college course I am instructing with a focus on Math/Science, we explored some quotes that I had collected over the years.

All the quotes had the "LISTEN TO ME!" content that teachers could use as base to extend into inquiries and projects.
Listen to the children to hear:
some math concepts,
scientific theories,
gaps in logic,
attempts at facts, cause & effect,
articulation of time & age,
explanations of things that change,
complex questions...?

"103 is a lot of fish, not a little. It is like 16." rose, 3yo.

"I am two and a half and my sister is seven pounds for a dollar." kevin, 2yo.

"My daddy's car is the color of Nestle's is the color when you first put it in the milk." jessica, 4yo.

"Let me tell you something. When it is all gone, that means zero." evan, 3yo.

train your ear to hear children in Their language.
"What if everything in the whole world, even the planets and stars, were made of pink paint?!" shannon, 5yo.

"Here, read this book first. And, after that one, read this one first." andrew, 2yo.

"When I grow up, I want to be a seagull so I can eat garbage." alice, 3yo.

"Is yellow allergic to brown?" haley, 5yo.

"Medium is near lots, right?" matt, 5yo.

"Birds don't go up to Jupiter or Mars. They just go where the blue is." shannon, 4yo.

Start documenting your listening with children during their open play time. Really listen and you'll start to hear important concepts  - real INFORMATION - that you can use to extend and deepen your students' understanding using intentional teaching methods. You can integrate exploration of these concepts into the richest context that is of value to children: their play.

The children are telling us every day what they KNOW. It just happens to be true that a lot of what they tell us also has what they DON'T KNOW weaved strongly in, as well. It is our job to interpret and deconstruct and support. It is our job, yet really, for me, the partnership with children is what creates such a dynamic learning environment daily, weekly, year after year.
What are ways that you listen to and document what your children are telling you in their play?


  1. Love it Jeanne! I was just adding it to my weekend reads. My favorite from my 3 year old: "lasterday".


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