Today I spent the day reflecting on “concentrating on the forest and forgetting the trees.” This phrase really spoke to me and I spent a lot of time trying to be present and with the children as they played.
Lately I have been spending a lot of time enjoying the beautiful fall colors around; driving has become a lot more difficult because the trees are so beautiful! When we went out to the playground today all I noticed was the leaves all over the ground! It was so beautiful, and it took me back to the days when I was a kid and we made huge leaf piles to jump in! Sometimes jumping in leaves was not the greatest idea in my yard, though, because our primary leaf tree was a black walnut tree. Have you ever jumped on walnuts? They don’t feel too good. This time I wasn’t going to be doing the jumping, though. I grabbed a rake tool that we had on the playground and began moving leaves into a big pile for the children to jump in. They were so happy about this new activity! They were throwing leaves up in the air and helping me gather more leaves into the huge pile. These kids are only three, though, so their attention span is not very long when it comes to piling up leaves without jumping in them. There was a LOT more jumping than there was piling.
This is what it is all about. These moments are the trees. It didn’t take much for this moment to happen – just a little work from me, a rake, and the wonderful season of fall. And of course, all of the energy from the children that was used for all of that jumping and playing! More moments like this happen all the time. It just takes being present in the moment with the children, listening to them, and figuring out how to turn each moment into a magical one like this. Are all of the moments magical? No, they aren’t. Children have their moments, as do we. But if we really listen to the children we can find the magical moments that happen every day.
Later in the day a crowd of children were sitting in the art center playing with foam letters. They were peeling the paper off of the backs of the letters so that they could stick them on paper. One child had a hole punch and was working with it. I hadn’t seen the children working with the punch before and I was watching him. After a while I remembered that my director had let me borrow a flower punch and I hadn’t given it back to her yet. I got it down for the children and they took turns experimenting with the flower punch. It was another magical moment as I showed the children the flowers that they had made. They all wanted to take flowers home to their families. This activity can be expanded with other punch shapes, and the magic can continue.
These are the trees, and this is what it is all about.