Learning @ Lunch with Preschoolers

For the past three days, I have had the opportunity to eat my lunch with some of the preschoolers who stay at school after their normal 11:30 dismissal for “lunch bunch” and afternoon enrichment. Despite an occasional spilled juice or flying spaghetti noodle, it’s been pretty tame.

Today, I ate with a handful of boys and girls and asked a simple question: What did you learn today? With full mouths of food and drink Without hesitation, these kids in Trinity’s three-year-old program and pre-k, began sharing their stories of learning. I even had to get my iPad out to write down all of the things they learned!

Grace told me about “rhyme time” in class and the tongue-twisters she learned along with her classmates. She then recited one for me! I wonder if she’ll gain a greater interest in words as she grows…

David told me about all of the shapes he learned today. The circle, the square, and the diamond. When I asked if the diamond was a hard shape to learn, he quickly said that it wasn’t becuase it was just like a square but different. I wonder if he’ll have the ability to think differently about traditional objects and ideas as he grows…

John told me that he learned about being cooperative and polite in the classroom and on the playground. He told me that “cooperative and polite” were two of the most important words in his classroom. I wonder if he’ll grow into a compassionate leader one day…

Hart told me that he learned that he loved pirates today. When I asked him what he loved about pirates, he said that he loved them so much he couldn’t name just one thing! I wonder if Hart will catch the travel bug and explore the world around him…

The learning that these four children so freely shared (and the wondering that it initiated in my own mind) reminds me of the value of breaking away from typical daily patterns and routines at school. Had I not eaten lunch with these wide-eyed and energetic preschoolers, I would have missed out on hearing about their learning and doing some learning on my own.

What’s a routine you need to break? What learning and wondering are you missing out on that you don’t even realize?


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