Commentary by Deborah Stewart
My toddlers are active learners all day. There are, however, two times of day that I teach them to sit. Group time and meal time. Meal time is more about safety and actually getting nutrients, but it also a time to teach manners and patience. Group Time, I struggle with. I pride myself that I have a bunch of toddlers who will sit and listen to stories for almost a half an hour. Now I ask myself, is this a good or bad thing? I feel pressure from older classrooms to teach kids how to sit still, but I also know I have some kids who just can't do it. I am a very animated story teller, we sing songs, have actions and I encourage the children to use story props to get up and move and help me tell the stories most days. In general, however, they sit....and listen. My toddlers are active ALL day, except for this small part.
If you ask my toddlers if they are ready to get up and play or if they want more stories, more stories wins every time.
These chapters helped me remember though that there are some kids who are just not able to sit and listen, and those kids I need to be sure to offer alternative options for engaging in group time. Making them helpers, actors or engaging them in different ways.
I pride myself on knowing my children very well and when their behavior tells me that story time is done. I respect that, and we move on to dancing, playing or free play time.