Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Don't tell me that young children have a short attention span.

This morning I watched  2 year old Ricky spend between 12 and 15 minutes scooping up water and seashells into a container, and collecting the shells into another bucket. I don't know if I could pay attention to a tedious task like that for 12 minutes.   Could you?

Last week,   I observed Marshall sweeping every last grain of birdseed off the floor with a little broom and dustpan when it was time to clean up our sensory play.

I also saw Mindy spend at least 5 minutes washing her hands, scrubbing every bit of paint off them when she was finished working at the art table.

Don't tell me that toddlers have no empathy.

This morning I observed Sally, Jose, and Tommy bringing toy after toy to Nakhir when he was sad after his mom left. They didn't give up on him, even when their first few offerings were refused.  And sure enough, after awhile, the love and generosity of those two-year-olds did help cheer up Nakhir and he was soon ready to play.

Last week when Allison pinched her finger,  two-year-old Michael's face mirrored the distress on her face.  It was almost hard to tell which child had the hurt finger-- Michael looked so upset.   He offered multiple times to go get her an ice pack, and he stayed near her until she felt better.

When Raymond saw that Azir needed to use the big truck even more than Raymond did, Raymond willingly gave it to Azir and patiently waited for a turn.  (Yes, these children are TWO!)

Multiply these little snapshots times a thousand, and you'll see what I see every week, as the teacher of toddlers:  the most complex, wonderful, and baffling people on the planet. Just remember that toddlers will always prove you wrong, so forget everything you've ever heard about them.  Just enjoy them for who they are.  Observe them and learn from them.

We don't need to do a whole lot of direct teaching with young children. A lot of what they need to know is already inside them. When we simply build on the wonderful natural attributes of children, we help them become their best selves.


  1. Love your blog! You have such great, caring insight into 2 year olds. Probably the most misunderstood people on the planet. :) My daughter will be starting in your class next month, and we are very excited about it! She can be very intimidated by group situations, so we are hoping she has a good experience to ease her slowly into the school setting. - Mara V.

  2. Thanks for reminding me that traditional stereotypes of children- short attention spans, terrible twos, etc do the children, and the adults that support them, both an injustice and disservice. KJ


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