For the life of me, I cannot sit crisscross-applesauce with my hands in my lap.

My legs were not designed to bend in sharp angles and I always move my hands when I talk. Okay, it could be also my age limiting my flexibility but because I have never liked to sit crisscross, I have never expected my students to sit that way either.

Criss-Cross Challenge!

When My granddaughter started her first day in preschool (not my preschool), she came home and told her mom, “Look what I can do!”  My three-year-old granddaughter proceeded to spend the next five minutes trying to figure out how to sit with her legs crisscrossed. My daughter took a hilarious video of it and sent it to me. Her little chubby thighs totally were getting in the way but after some serious huffing and puffing, she got those legs to stay in a crisscross position for about a minute.

Give me your best!

I often ask my students to sit on their bottom and give me their best attention but how they get to that position is often left up to them. When I have encouraged a crisscross position in the past, I can’t tell you how many times I have had a student say, “Mrs. Stewart, I can’t sit that way.”  Why do we think that is the best listening position anyway?

Are they enjoying the experience?

I want my students to be engaged in the conversations and things we do during circle time. When necessary, I will ask them to sit up and give me their best attention. However, I know if they are completely uncomfortable in a certain position, then they cannot concentrate on what I have for them. My students will often go from sitting on their bottom to laying on tummies or sitting up high on their knees. As long as the children are constructively participating in the circle time process, I don’t spend a great deal of time worrying what position they choose to sit. What matters most to me is that they are joining in as a part of the community and enjoying the experience along the way.

Things to Consider

  1. Young children are active listeners so be flexible – especially when you have children that aren’t that flexible when it comes to sitting crisscross-applesauce!
  2. It is hard for a child to concentrate on what the teacher is talking about if the child is feeling uncomfortable or awkward.
  3. Don’t be afraid to give the children and little wiggle room – especially when you see that what they truly want to do is see better or in some way enjoy the experience that you offer even more.