The Moorestown Friends School Early Childhood Program

Supporting Parents in their Support of their Child

Life is complex, defined by the relationships that we create with the world around us. The life of the young child is always connected, growing in meaningful dialogue with all whom they encounter.

The Beginnings Blog will examine important ways in which children find meaning, in their lives and in their Preschool, Prekindergarten, or Kindergarten education. We will aim to support parents as they support their children in the navigation of these complexities.

And the life of the young child is complex. Parents and educators have the joy of seeing young children grow each day, taking important steps (both literal and figurative) on their journey through life. This is a gift, not to be squandered.

Find Meaning for the Children. Take the Time to Listen.

Many years ago, in a different city and a different time in my life, I was working with four-year-old prekindergarten children. During a project on nature, I developed a lesson on the differences between things that were living, non-living, and dead. When it came time to teach the lesson, I grew frustrated because the investment that I had put into it was not mirrored by the prekindergarten students. I felt that this information was something that they needed to know, and I believed that I was somehow failing them because the lesson had fallen flat. I voiced my frustration to a veteran colleague, who offered me the following advice: “Find meaning for the children. Find the thread which connects the information to their lives. Do this by taking the time to listen.”

This advice still supports my teaching many years later, and I believe it can be an important lesson for parents as well. When we, as teachers and parents, take the time to deeply listen to the perspectives of young children, we can find meaningful ways to connect our ideas about the world with theirs. We can gain appreciation for the seriousness of children’s thought, their integrity, and the joy that they bring to discovery and revelation. By deeply listening, we also tell children that they are valued, which supports behavior management and personal organization. But those are topics for another day.

Over the next few months we will use this idea of complexity to support ways that we can grow as parents and educators of our children in Preschool, Prekindergarten, and Kindergarten. We can offer ideas, strategies, and experiences (both good and bad), which can help us understand how to foster meaningful connections between ourselves, our children, and the complex lives which we all lead.

Beginnings at MFS is the Moorestown Friends School Early Childhood Program (Preschool, Prekindergarten, and Kindergarten) The Beginnings Blog is intended as a helpful tool for parents and guardians of young children, examining important ways in which children find meaning, in their lives and in their education.

Author Garrett McVaugh is the Beginnings at MFS Half-Day Preschool Teacher. Along with his Teaching Assistant Pauline Williams, he guides some of the youngest MFS students through their first year of school. A graduate of Haverford College, Garrett has been an early childhood educator for over a decade. Prior to MFS, he was a teacher at Preschool of the Arts in Madison, WI. Prior to living in Wisconsin, Garrett spent eight years teaching at St. John’s Episcopal Preschool in Washington, DC.