Winter Lessons on Patience

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By Beth Pinyerd

I love the different seasons in Lee County! Our area definitely points
out the differences in beautiful pronounced ways. In autumn, we see the beautiful change of leaves and landscape. Spring blossoms beautiful Azaleas, flowers and aromas. Summer brings forth a lush of green foliage all around. Winter provides light frost sometimes snow, icicles and cold winds in the grasp of Jack Frost. As classrooms of children bundle up and take winter field trips, they observe some trees, plants, seeds and shrubs have gone into a dormant stage. This is a “looking” lesson so I instruct the children not to tear open the buds in order to get them to grow. Young children will ask why these plants go dormant. I explain to the children that the plants have to wait for warmer days before coming to life again.
Just this simple winter lesson can set up a lesson for the classroom teacher or parent to explain the importance of being patient for good things to happen. Being an early childhood teacher there are many tasks and processes going on among young students that require patience. Parents of young children understand these needs as well.
When I am teaching early childhood classes, I can identify their struggle to wait their turn. Addressing their frustrations, discouragement and emotions and letting them know that you do understand helps to lessen feelings of discouragement.
As a teacher, I try to explain to my young students why they may have to wait especially during snack time and lunch when I am opening up juice boxes or lunch boxes. Because I have several students to help, they laugh when I tell them “I am not an octopus and don’t have eight arms to help everyone all at one time!” This is the way I explain to them that they need to wait. I try to teach the lesson of patience this way. Too, when talking to another student or adult, explain to a young child that you are in the middle of a conversation and they will need to wait. Even toddlers, twos, threes and fours understand this concept.
In the early childhood classroom, patience is practiced daily. When young students wait their turn to interact in learning centers, answer questions during lessons, line up to go outside or go to the lunchroom, patient skills are practiced. Too, in taking time to rest between lessons or activities in the early childhood classroom, waiting and patience can be timed by the clock. They love to look at the hands of the clock as time ticks away to end their waiting time.
As parents and teachers, we have to praise children when they are showing patient behavior. Children are encouraged by praise.
Too, children are good observers of behavior. As adults when we model patience they want to imitate us. As parents and teachers we also have to remember to be patient with children as they finish
tasks.
Remember Ground Hog’s Day is this coming Feb. 2.
If the day is overcast and the Groundhog does not see his shadow there will be an early spring! If the Groundhog sees his shadow (the day is bright and sunny) there will be six more weeks of winter weather so we adults as well as children will need to practice patience as we wait upon spring!
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools, and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth, and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures, and events by e-mailing her at donnapinyerd@charter.net.

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