"Austin's teacher is observing him working carefully to fill the metal container to the very top with a variety of wooden balls and rings," writes Deb Curtis in her book, Really Seeing Children. Curtis explains how the teacher helps other children understand Austin's wish to put as many materials as possible into the container. The teacher says to Austin: "It's filled to the very top! Thanks for sharing with me." When it is finally clean up time, the teacher lovingly tells Austin, "It's going to be really sad for me to ask you to put those toys away, because you have been working so carefully with them all morning."
This is how Curtis describes what happens next: "Austin moves away, clutching the container tightly, while the teacher and other children clean up. After a few minutes of walking around and watching the cleanup, Austin comes back to the teacher and with a smile, hands over the container. When it’s time to go, Austin looks up at his teacher with a smile, takes her hand, and walks to the lunchroom...
"This simple story...illustrates that children know when their teachers are truly present with them. They see when our words and bodies communicate that we are listening with our hearts and minds. When we engage with children in this deeply respectful way...children will come to see us as we hope to be seen, and in turn, we will see children as they deserve to be seen and known."
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Really Seeing Children helps adults leave behind their own preoccupations so they can be fully present for children. Deb Curtis, in her more than 40 years as an early childhood educator, has cultivated a reflective teaching practice devoted to really seeing children.
Through her collection of stories and photographs, learn to suspend your adult agenda to really see children's perspectives and the amazing ways they experience the world. Taking up this practice will bring joy and deeper understanding to your work and life and allow you to engage with children in a more meaningful teaching and learning process.
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I am currently a Senior at Central Michigan University majoring in childhood development. I think that it is extremely important for children to feel comfortable around their teachers. The teacher used kind words when speaking to the child and it made him feel comfortable and able to clean up. This issue shows that teachers care about the students and how they speak to them.