Baan Dek


Thoughts & Reflections

The relationship between child and educator is special, and important. Nowhere near as important as the one between parent and child, but still one of mutual respect, and necessary.

There are times when a child’s trust in the teacher, the guide, is absolutely imperative. We need to convey ourselves as trustworthy. “I know you can do this,” or “You set up your number cards and I’ll be right back,” mean nothing if we do not follow through, if we do not mean what we say, if we are not trustworthy.

When we’re presenting the adjective, we’ll start by playing a game the child is very familiar with — the guide will write something on a slip of paper, and the child will go get it. This time, though, whatever the child brings me is “wrong,” but the fault lies with me, I didn’t give you enough information. For instance, I might write, “a pencil,” and whatever pencil a child brings me, a colored pencil, a math pencil, a red pencil, is “wrong,” I have to write another word in order for the child to bring me exactly what I was thinking of.

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This highlights the special nature of the adjective. There are many pencils, or baskets, or beads in this classroom, and it’s up to me to give you the word that clarifies — that’s what adjectives do.

This only works, though, if there’s trust. Without trust, I set you up for failure, you didn’t read my mind, I’m tricking you.

With trust, this is fun, silly, “*sigh* Ms. Wood! Tell me ALL the words this time!” And we can enjoy a good laugh together. Trust imparts a sense of belonging.

Baan Dek

We rely on a child’s trust in completing a long sequence of work, or in doing something new and challenging, something which, at first, might be a bit uncomfortable.

We might invite a child to a presentation with, “I’m going to show you something wonderful,” or “I think you’re really going to like this,” or “I’m so excited I get to show you one of my very favorite works.” This builds on trust, and strengthens the relationship.

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We earn this trust by being calm and consistent, by never making demands or setting expectations outside of the child’s current abilities, by never punishing but always following through. We are warm and inviting, strong and clear.

The relationship matters. When a child feels safe, seen, understood, and respected, they are willing to take risks, which learning requires.

Written by:

Charlotte Wood

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