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    The best pre-school teachers are actually facilitators of play

    I have been without connection to the digital world for a week with our router on the blink and me unable to work out my smart phone...Actually I am giving my son my new phone and am getting a simple one! I am too busy ‘in the field’ to do twitter, Facebook or email. Anyway when I am there I am a teacher and teachers do not fiddle around on cell phones – they give their focussed attention to their students!

    I have always been amazed at the way that children know when your attention is off them. As a young teacher I observed the way that the minute I started talking to another teacher or a visitor the children would be on me in a minute asking questions, needing a mediator in a dispute or a look at something they have made...

    As a mom I noticed that the only time I left my baby daughter to herself (in her chair a few metres from me and where I could see her) to hang washing she would get niggly and cry. She KNEW I was attending to something that was not her! And later I noticed that being on the phone was the moment my kids would need me urgently. Or when I sneakily picked up a novel – with my 4 year old playing happily in another room – in two seconds she would be by my side suggesting some sort of play.

    So when a pre-school teacher is just sitting ‘doing nothing’ be assured she is actually very busy. She is observing and holding the situation. The 25 odd children are playing happily because she is there – focused on them. That focus allows her to tweak situations before they become conflicts, to notice and praise a new accomplishment, add a new play challenge to a child who she can see is ready for it.

    The best pre-school teachers are actually facilitators of play...they use their playroom and themselves as a sort of canvas for the children to learn, create and become...

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