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Enjoying Diversity

by Renatta Cooper and Elizabeth Jones
September/October 2005
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/enjoying-diversity121/5016506/

"Smart = Optimistic and creative in the face of the unknown."
Jones & Cooper, Playing to Get Smart

Near the end of the kindergarten day, the teacher puts on an action-song record and invites the children to stand up and follow the movements in the song. They are delighted and exuberant. She abruptly turns off the record.

"Those are NOT the motions of our song. No jumping. No hopping. One, two, three, four." The record is turned back on and the children are subdued, carefully doing it right but without joy. Only hand motions are allowed; the feet are supposed to stay still.

Why? What's wrong with hopping and jumping? What is the teacher afraid of? What does she think music is for?

Teachers who value children's imagination leave room for new ideas. They may even encourage them: "Oh, you thought of jumping. How high can you jump? Can you jump without bumping Rasheel?" "You're jumping on one foot, aren't you? That's hopping." "The person on the record had some ideas for what to do with this music. And you had some other ideas, too. Good for you!"

We want our children to be safe. We want them to learn the skills they will need ...

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