3 ways to steal time back

Don't you love being a GUEST ?
It is such a treat to be invited somewhere to do something and to be a GUEST.

My special Guest Appearance happened today over at the ever-amazing Christie's blog Childhood 101. Christie has her energies focused on her newest adorable member of her family and has scheduled many guest bloggers over these weeks with "mom-in-the-hotseat" or "teacher-in-the-hotseat" posts.

How to get time back? GIVE it to the children.

Here are few blog-bites from the post all about the Challenge of Time for Teachers:

Time Stealer #1: Teachers focusing on Teacher Agenda
"...a Time Stealer is when teachers are not “present” with the children in the moment to witness learning, scaffold an experience or take photos and/or document an exploration. Teachers instead have the children “busy enough” in class so that the teacher can prep the NEXT thing they want the children to be engaging in or doing. The day is a blur of next, next, next. "
Steal Time Back #1: Leave room IN your agenda for children’s discoveries to guide your teaching.
"...When you sit down nearby a group of children building in the block area, examine the materials they have chosen, listen in to their drama they created around the Cave for Dinosaurs. Your formal or informal collection of this kind of data in turn authentically informs your teaching for the next day or weeks instead of needing to hurry up to prep a butterfly art project that has no connection to what the children are really DOing."
Time Stealer #2: Teachers impose their exact way for children to do something
"...This kind of ‘teaching’ usually has a complimentary “Don’t press the brush” “Don’t dip in two colors” “Don’t use too much paint”. Not a favorite style of mine. This is a Time Stealer because children don’t require our guidance in this way."
Steal Time Back #2: The classroom environment is set for children to USE and EXPLORE materials and tools on their own. 
"...Yet, really, does paint require a How To? What if children surprised you with how they mixed and dabbled and smushed and dotted different colors? Wouldn’t that enrich your understanding about that child’s creativity and exploration with color and tools? Would all the colors being mixed to brown be the worst thing? Would smashed bristles on a paint brush be the worst thing? Would paint dripping off the easel be the worst thing? All of these can be used in a discussion of “Oh, what happened here?”...  If teachers let go of How To, there will be huge amounts of Time given back to exploration in all areas of the classroom. You don’t need to teach children how to play. We need to let children show us how they play."
Time Stealer #3: Teachers need to Prep and Clean all day
"Teachers need to wash, disinfect, sort, stack, prep, organize all day long with food, materials, and children’s items. Teachers allow this part of our job to Become Our Job all day. "
 Steal Time Back #3: Teachers partner with children to care for the classroom.
"...Children who take ownership of the classroom have a much stronger role in the care of the classroom. When children are in an environment where they choose their materials and tools, have extended choice time to play, and have authentic relationships with teachers, they in turn have an awareness of the care that is required for their classroom and desire to be caring members...
Children learn sorting, sequencing, organizing, as well as being a member of a group, helping, and recognizing what a ‘cleaned up’ classroom looks like."
Hmmm. Who would have known that the best way to GET TIME BACK FOR TEACHERS is to GIVE IT TO THE CHILDREN ?
oh, so simple...so very very simple.


  1. Hi Zella,
    I do find that it is easy to get so busy doing the "teacher stuff" that time can get away and then when the children leave for the day, I wonder - "Did I hear anything these kids have to say?" or "Did I ever talk to so-and-so today?" I had one particular student this year teach me the value of mixing all the paint colors and I am so glad that in this case, I didn't let time slip away as I am quite certain that one day in the future he will surely discover a brand new color the world has never heard of!

    1. Deborah - yes, time slips away so easily :) I am glad you had a special moment with a child mixing all the paint - shades of brown or gray from mixing all the colors is new to a child so 'letting them' mix is important! cheers.

  2. Everything you wrote is how EVERY early childhood educator should think/plan (I believe). However, just a tiny editing suggestion: consider making the "Time Stealer" font in Red (= No), and the "Steal Time Back" font in green (= Yes~ Go teachers!!!). Keep posting, if not just for the existential inspiration you are sending! I am a fan.

    1. Thanks Marciah for the tip to switch out the highlight colors. I know we all make the green=go connection so maybe I will just leave the current colors for now to shake up the world a bit :) Have a great day.


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