What does it look like to be courageous at three years old?
When you are three, the world around you is BIG. There are many things to learn and challenges to overcome. You are full of this new sense of self and have ideas, thoughts, and emotions to figure out. It is can be one scary, yet fun, adventure, for sure!
I believe courage comes in many forms when you’re little. It could be stepping into a new classroom for the first time or making a new friend. It could be going into an unfamiliar potty (especially with one of those crazy self-flushers!) or tasting something that “looks icky”. With so many challenges faced as they grow, I have to ask, how do we help these little people foster the independence to be brave enough to face the world around them?
As a teacher of preschoolers, I often find myself asking this question over and over.
When I try to think of an answer, there is not one simple thing that comes to mind. One of the things I like to use to help build the courage and confidence needed to be more independent is the Project Based Learning approach in class. By creating a place where open-ended questions are encouraged, mistakes are “happy”, and time is allowed to work through the problem at hand. Children are safe to explore different thoughts and ideas.
Even though things do not always go as planned and sometimes the children get discouraged, there is something magical to be seen as their eyes light up when they piece together something on their own and know they accomplished it, not me, the teacher.
I love to see their confidence soar and watch them become eager to take on even more challenging tasks. Whether it’s putting on their own shoes or using scissors (both of which can be kind of tricky). It truly is one of the very best parts of my job!
At the end of the day, I hope my kids never stop asking questions and trying to figure things out. I hope they realize that failure to get it the first time simply means they have the opportunity to try something new and try a different approach. Most of all, I hope that I have done my job well and they leave class a little more confident in themselves and their God given abilities, so that they can, as stated in Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous” as they find their place in this world.
A couple of my favorite books on being brave and courageous:
The Brave Little Owl. by Gill Davies & I’m Gonna Like Me. by Jamie Lee Curtis