How to find those smiles on the first day of school.

by Deborah Stewart, M.Ed.

My pre-k class gathered around me for circletime on our first day of school. I had planned this day out in my mind and yet when I sat down to get our morning circle started, I got a little rattled.

I could see one little guy immediately scrunch up his face and cross his arms. I went on with my plan only to hear him repeatedly say, “I don’t like this.”

I kept going but I was feeling anxious. After 30 years in early childhood education, you would think that I wouldn’t be phased, but I was definitely rattled.

I was trying to decide what to do. Should I stop and address the child’s behavior and feelings or should I just ignore him and press forward? Neither sounded like the right choice.

And then I thought about two words we talk about often in the Honeybee Hive: “little victories.”

I recently asked some of my teachers in the Honey Bee Hive to tell me what the term “little victories” means to them. I loved listening to how these amazing teachers apply this impactful term in their teaching practices and thought you would enjoy listening to what Kathy had to say...

“Well I think that it just means that the little things in the day where a child triumphs and where they have good feelings and good experiences. Where they have good interactions with other children... and whether they master something that has been hard for them... it can be the simplest of things. And to me it can mean something too. When I have a good day, I find something that works with the kids, that really speaks to them and I need to look for those more. I think we tend to glaze over those because we’re so busy going to the next thing.” -- Kathy

Kathy; Early Childhood Teacher and Member of the Honey Bee Hive

As I quickly ran through my mind what the “next thing” should be, I realized that I needed to focus on how I could help this child with the scrunched up little face and my anxious-self find a little victory in this moment.

That’s when I knew what to do. Instead of “glazing over” the moment so I could move on to the next thing, I just needed to stop and help this little guy find his smile. And that is what I did.

Out came Piper, our class puppet that looks like a messy white feathered bird with a crooked beak, to meet the children and suddenly the scrunched up face turned into a cautious but sweet smile. The barriers started to melt away and I was no longer rattled. 

Hear what Darla shared about little victories... 

Darla; Early Childhood Teacher and Member of the Honey Bee Hive

I never did complete all that I had intended to do for my morning circle but we’ve got time for that. What I did accomplish was a little victory for me and my students which is exactly what was needed to set the stage for tomorrow’s morning circle and the next one. Little victories add up but we have to look for them in the moments where they seem least likely to be.

Let me send you off with this last thought about little victories from another teach in the Honey Bee Hive. 

Hear what Valerie shared about little victories... 

Valerie; Early Childhood Teacher and Member of the Honey Bee Hive

Are you looking for those smiles? Tuck the term “little victories” in your mind and the next time you are feeling rattled, think, “How can I help you and me find a little victory right now?”

The Solution Within You!

I'm presenting an informative  and FREE presentation on finding the solutions within you. This is a 3-part series where I will break down some common problems in the classroom and show you how to find the solutions that create engagement and confidence in your children. Click the button below to visit the presentation page.

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

Deborah Stewart, M.Ed.

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

Deborah Stewart, M.Ed.

The Solution Within You!

I'm presenting an informative  and FREE presentation on finding the solutions within you. This is a 3-part series where I will break down some common problems in the classroom and show you how to find the solutions that create engagement and confidence in your children. Click the button below to visit the presentation page.