Rest Play Grow...enhancing our practice
Associate Director & Infant/Toddler Coordinator
The teachers in the YT classroom have been thinking a lot about understanding the innate instinct of young children called counter-will. In the Young Toddler classroom (and with any toddler) it is not uncommon to hear “no” frequently and for everything (even the things they want).
During weekly team meetings we frequently hear questions like:
What is really happening for this child?
How as teachers do we best support young toddlers with each interaction we have?
What do we need to better understand about the growing need for independence from our group?
As a team, the teachers are looking beyond the “reaction” the child is having to consider what happened right before, during, and even after the upset, to understand the whole story of what the need of that child might be.
The growing need for independence and the drive to stay connected with a caregiver is an inner struggle for young children that we are very aware of: What was an “ah ha” moment for Heidi and her team while reading Rest, Play, Grow was the practice of meeting the child in his/her development and taking the perspective of better understanding what was happening for the child---not focused on the behavior, but what was underneath the behavior. This approach resonated with our long-held beliefs about toddlers and also gave the team a fresh way of looking at this unique age and stage.
The first step in finding one’s own will is to resist and counter the will of others.
Gordon Neufeld, as quoted in Rest, Play, Grow, pg. 204
Rest, Play, Grow...Fueling our wondering...
In the Preschool classrooms I’ve seen much evidence of how our reading of the book Rest Play Grow has helped to inform, as well as validate, teaching practices. During team meetings, I hear teachers wondering about a certain behavior for a child and referring back to something they read in the book and thinking about what to do next in order to help that child be successful.
ITC has always placed enormous value on relationship building and connections and it’s been encouraging to see and hear teachers talk about coming alongside a child who is in emotional upheaval and what that looks and feels like. This comes directly from our reading of Rest Play Grow. It can be uncomfortable and emotionally exhausting, but acknowledging their feelings and being available to them while these emotions are unfolding is where our most important work lies. The book also refers to alpha and orchid children, which is completely new terminology for staff and has definitely impacted conversations and wonderings about individual children. Rest Play Grow has been an amazing resource and tool for developing staff trainings this year.
“When you come alongside a child, you are leading them through their emotional experiences.”
Rest, Play, Grow, pg. 141
Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers
(Or Anyone Who Acts Like One)
This video is a talk by Rest, Play, Grow author Deborah MacNamara. In it, she talks about the value of play in children’s lives and why it is critical that we protect and preserve this basic human need for healthy development. It is a taste of what she offers in her book and it is a quick way to connect to her worthy work!
Deborah has another great presentation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weyv219Pinc. Check it out!