During our first leadership meeting for the year, Narelle read this favourite, award winning picture storybook ‘All the Ways to be Smart’ by Davina Bell and Allyson Colpoys. It was a good reminder about how MECS teachers are deliberate in the way they think about students and learning.
What is being smart?
Smart is not just ticks and crosses,
Smart is building boats from boxes.
Such a playful way to remind us that learning comes in many forms. It also reminds us that what we believe about children influences how we teach and what we do in the classroom.
In the kinder, we are reviewing our philosophy and how it matches up with what we do in practice. We believe that each child is wonderfully created, unique, powerful, capable, and full of curiosity about the world. Children are made in the image of God, and all have different gifts and talents. We often reflect on this verse and how it underpins what we do:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
If we believe that children are fully capable, made in God’s image, then how we present learning opportunities will be reflected in everything, such as how we include children’s ideas when we set the culture in our classrooms, or why we spend time building a restorative approach and how we plan learning to be challenging and inquisitive. It’s about respecting children, their gifts, and talents and all their ways to be smart.
There are many, many ways children learn, from our everyday routine that often requires some waiting for others, or as they play a game together, or showing kindness to a peer who is sad, or noticing the spiral pattern on a snail shell. It is ALL important.
Smart is folding aeroplanes for flying,
Smart is kindness when there’s crying.
As a teacher, when you hold this view of children and their learning it will shape the way you see each child. When I watch children pouring water into the sandpit, I see scientists devising a hypothesis about why the water sinks into the sand. As I listen to children articulate their ideas about moats and ways to stop the water ‘sinking in’ the sand I hear problem solving and working together towards achieving their desired outcome.
At MECS we recognise that children are learning ALL the time. Children learn through their many ways of being smart. I love how MECS teachers draw out the differences we all have, how we are made uniquely with different gifts and talents and how it is ok to be smart at different things. We are reminded of this as the story ends…
‘And nobody will ever do…
The very same smart things as you.’