Nowadays, our kids are exposed to facilities like having cars to bring them to and from school, nannies, gadgets etc. It is normal that parents want to give their kids the best in everything. However, sometimes or often they don’t realise the way parents give or provide all the best things to their children can bring about a negative effect later on. Children become more dependent than ever on all these items. Somehow, they do not even need to ask… Voila! Everything is ready in front of them.
I realise that my students have become more and more dependent. One time, without any words, one of my students gave me her lunch box. At first, I automatically opened it and gave the opened snack box back to her. Then I regretted it. How come I gave in to such an inappropriate request? From that experience, I started to introduce to them 3 magic words: “please”, “sorry” and “thank you”. Using those three magic words made them more “human.” Their empathy and appreciative feelings have grown and their behaviour became more polite. Eventually, those magic words become a habit for them.
In my school now, teachers always bring a small broom and a dust pan during snack time. Since I teach kindergarten students, those two things are very useful during that time. We have a janitor who is always available to clean students’ rubbish. Instead of asking the janitor to clean the students’ mess, we teach them how to do it themselves.
Perfection does not come immediately, of course, but we can see the effort of the students and how they feel about themselves. They try hard to use the broom and the dust pan, which is also a good practice for their fine motor skill. Students also feel proud of themselves after they are done cleaning their own mess. The most important thing is that by doing that, students appreciate others’ feelings and job. They will try first to clean their own area before they ask help from the janitor by using those three magic words. However, they have become more careful in eating, so they will try their best not to spill anything on the table or floor.
One day, I look forward to seeing the kids develop their independence and willingness to help others in school, not only to those who are in need, but also to the strangers they see along the streets, neighbourhood and around the community. Little practices can make a difference in building big goals for children’s learning which start from the little things that young children can manage to do by themselves.
By Dian Anggraini (email@example.com), K2 Homeroom Teacher,
Sekolah Global Indo-Asia (Batam)