can you hear me now? "la la la la la!"

At the heart of my commitment to early childhood is my commitment to documentation and photography to capture learning as it unfolds. 
It is a special experience when I discover a photo from a friend that sparks something in me to write a blog post that connects with child development in a specific way.
My high school friend Laura posted a photo of her husband and daughter on a social networking site. The photo caught my attention because - to me - it was clear that the child was making a statement, her own Very Deliberate statement.
It made me think about how some children instinctively Want To Be Heard and Have Something To Say from a very early age.
Can you hear Ella? "la la la la la!"
Mom Laura shared with me that Ella, 22 months, had been attending her big sister's school play. Ella was a bit too disruptive during rehearsal and was 'asked to leave' til the show started. As she left rehearsal, Ella shared her disappointment  "Oh, man!" for all to hear.
After the show, Ella ran right up to the stage and straight to the microphone to sing "la la la la la...!" Dad Isaac was right there with Ella to enjoy her vocals and likely to swoop her away when her solo was completed.
Laura shared that Ella loves to sing and dance and has an extensive vocabulary in English, Spanish and Hebrew. It seems "la la la la" is universal for toddler singing in all languages.

From the educator lens:
1. Children develop their own sense of self, their own sense of wanting to share information or not, their own comfort level in having attention or not.
2. Children have their own motivation to "go straight to the microphone" and yet also it can be something that has been supported by family or school where children have had opportunities to talk and/or share in a trusted group.
3. Children might learn to embrace that role of Sharer or Teller of Information. Some children might not like it still and prefer to have a quieter role.
4. Ensuring the children have opportunities to share their opinions, be an expert (drawing circles, singing La La La, standing on one foot), lead a nature walk, explain their artwork, tell about a favorite book - all these afford authentic contexts for children to speak, lead or explain something. 
5. The "Having Of A Voice" won't always be natural like for Ella yet allowing chances for celebrating what children DO have to say is an absolute gift.

 Here are a few ways that children have a Voice in our classroom:

My 3 year old friend Z created this easel painting and dictated this exciting story.
"This is a rainbow crocodile name Popcorn. She likes to snap and eat people!"


My 5 year old friend K created this wood puppet who is holding a paper bouquet of flowers. Here is her story:
"Once upon a time, the puppet went to the forest to get some wood from a tree. It was scary and she saw a ghost but it was really her friend Bear. Then she saw her friend Rabbit.
The End." 

This 4 year old friend climbed one of the ladders in our grove area, spotted something important and made her announcement: "Look! I see my friends way over there!"

This 4 year old friend had private time with all the swings. She kept going from swing to swing to keep them each in motion, round and round, over and over.
She never said a word.

Sometimes, there is nothing to say. Finding an alone space and being with yourself is a beautiful message. Of course, this 5 year old just might be singing or talking to herself in this red tube, we can only imagine.

Thank you to Laura, Isaac and especially Ella for the inspiration for this post on the many many Voices of Children...La la la la la la la!

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