Twas the week before Thanksgiving
We early childhood teachers love this time of year. “Lest You Forget” is a way to connect our Thanksgiving celebration to the first harvest feast and celebration that brought the Pilgrims and native Americans together. Teachers and families love connecting the past to the present by reading books to our children. Our community is so blessed with wonderful libraries to help teachers and parents to find the books and resources they need. There are so many resources online too. Children love to learn about the first Thanksgiving with dressing up and acting it out. Our community is so good in offering celebrations to the children and their families. This is a time as families gather to share family history and traditions.
As we get ready for the holidays, we all like to get our holiday boxes down, recipe books out, and idea resources as we get ready for the holidays. We teachers like to look through our resources to help us decorate, find lessons to teach, activities, songs and poems as we celebrate each holiday season. As Classroom Observer I have resources that I have shared with readers and would like to review as we include children into the Thanksgiving season.
During this week before Thanksgiving with planning and preparing, children love to help in holiday planning. This is such a special time to include young helping hands. It does take time as a parent and teacher to guide young hands to help pick up, clean and organize. With this, we have to think and plan age-appropriate tasks for each child. It may take a little longer to do chores, but it is valuable learning lessons in feeling responsible and trusted when we ask children to help us.
Household chores offer so many academic and readiness skills. For example, guiding your child to set the table by counting family members a family has, then counting out how many plates, cups, forks, spoons and knives are needed for family members. This teaches our children about patterning and one-to-one correspondence. Children can also help sort laundry into socks, pants, shirts, towels, etc. Children maybe cannot fold laundry, but they can sort the laundry by colors, what the clothes are, and who the clothes belong to.
One thing that I have observed children doing is to take joy in cleaning and wiping down tables. They want to help their teachers and parents do this simple task. In this week before Thanksgiving, if your child or children have no problems with allergies, let them dust the furniture as preparations are being done for Thanksgiving. Children love to see their reflections.
Let’s move into the kitchen area. This week there may be many dishes that you are preparing for next week, such as desserts, casseroles to be frozen, etc. Seeing parents cut fruits and vegetables up in halves, thirds and quarters teaches children about fractions. When children are able to help their families in the kitchen, they learn chronological order of steps to the recipe.
The kitchen offers a wonderful place to teach your children about the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Right here, before Thanksgiving, these recipe ingredients are worth reviewing for our children and families.
- Take a gallon of love. This ingredient is one we need so much of. 1 Corinthians 13:13: “and now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Cherish this time in the life of a young child. Those of us who teach children are so blessed with hugs, and hearing the words, “I Love you.”
- Sprinkle in a dash of joy. Happiness is conditioned by and often dependent on what is “happening to me,” but joy is that deep heartfelt peace that children seem to understand. God provides joy as a divine dimension not shackled by circumstances. Children display this joy in playing and humming as they work. Children are fresh from Heaven and they are still wrapped up in their blankets of joy.
- Weigh out a pound of peace. We can model peace in front of our children by how we get along with others. Sharing and getting along with family, siblings and friends promote peace in a child’s understanding. Offering forgiveness to others when they have done wrong or hurt other people’s feelings is practicing peace. This is where we as parents and teachers can guide children to forgive each other when one has been hurt.
- Throwing in a pinch of patience is such an asset in this fast-paced world. We classroom teachers teach our young students to raise their hands until it is their turn to answer, put fingers over their mouth to remind them to wait their turns to answer, to hold their thoughts so they don’t interrupt the teaching until the lesson is finished. Teaching children patience is a courtesy to others. Teaching patience early in a child’s life is very important and will lead to happiness and contentment.
- Pour in a cup of kindness. Doing acts of kindness is contagious. “Love talked about is easily ignored. But love demonstrated by helping others is irresistible.” Children are taught not by our words but our actions as we parents and teachers model kindness.
- Measure out a tablespoon of goodness. Goodness is doing what is right in the sight of the Lord and man. It is doing the right thing for the right reason. We are raising our children in a challenging world in 2023, but outreaching in goodness to others overrides bitterness and leads to deep hearted joy.
- Pouring in a quart of faithfulness is love hanging on. Matthew 19:24: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Children love to pray. With their young hearts, they believe in prayer. They trust and know that God will keep his promises. Over the many years I have taught, children have come to me with prayer requests for themselves, their families and friends. They are so quick to let you know when their prayers are answered. Establishing faith early in a child’s life when there are answered prayers, disappointments or even discouragements gives them hope.
- Pour in a pint of gentleness. When we think of gentleness, we think of humility, lack of pride and mercy. With gentleness, children seem to understand examples of thinking of other people first. I love the way preschoolers open the door for each other, go to the back of the line instead of first and look and express good points they see in each other.
- Self-control adds to the ingredients of this life’s recipes. Self-control for children means that they obey and submit to their parents, teachers and rules. This takes time and consistent teaching.
In this week before Thanksgiving, I hope all families prepare in their hearts to include children in the plans, preparations and “fixings” of a good family and community Thanksgiving.
Beth Pinyerd has taught in the classroom for many years. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education.