Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Saying Thank You, by Rhoda Kambandu, LifeWays KinderHouse Teacher

Snow, snow, snow, how we do love the snow!

It’s so nice to finally have some snow on the ground! The Kinderhouse children were thrilled to be out in the newly-fallen snow, and enjoyed rolling around in it and sampling the snowflakes! The snow seemed to enliven their spirits and added a magical serenity to their play. As a teacher, their enjoyment was truly gratifying. I felt so fortunate in being able to give the children the time and space to enjoy being out in nature in this way.

I recently had my annual work performance review with Mary. As always, I felt really lucky that I work at LifeWays, and that I truly enjoy my work. Working with the children and the other caregivers allows me to expand my knowledge of children development. I have gained an appreciation for how the first seven years of a child’s life shape the rest of his/her life, and therefore strive to provide a warm, simple and nurturing environment for the children.

As a child, my siblings and I would often pay my Aunt and Uncle long visits. I remember my Aunt telling me one meal time, “You must always say thank you to the person who has prepared your food.” This simple statement has stuck with me.

It is not always easy to show true gratitude when one is facing a difficult situation, but it is at these times when gratitude is exactly what is needed. I have found that when things are tough, having a sense of gratitude for the things that are going well can have a healing effect and can bolster us through difficult times.

How can we teach children to have a sense of gratitude? If we remember that young children learn primarily through imitation, all we have to do as the ones being imitated, is to show genuine gratitude ourselves. Of course, like a lot of things about raising children, it may be easier said than done! But we can strive to model gratitude for our children by simply saying “Thank you for our meal,” as we do at LifeWays. If we continually express our gratitude, our children will learn to do so as well. We can teach children to enjoy being out in nature, in all kinds of weather, by enjoying it ourselves. If they see us making snow angels or catching snowflakes on our tongues, they will imitate us and pick up on our attitude towards nature. In this way we can foster in them a deep appreciation for nature that will lead them to revere and protect natural spaces as adults. Because young children are such imitative beings, our actions truly speak louder than our words.

I am grateful to be a part of the LifeWays staff. Thank you, LifeWays parents, for the opportunity and the honor of working with your children.

Ms. Rhoda Kambandu

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