What I learned in preschool: sharing is caring

For those of you who know me, you might know that sharing isn’t one of my strong points. But in my defense, I have gotten better at it! Let me rewind though, this train of thought was brought on by our daily park time.

At preschool, after we finish the morning routine of 20 minutes of simple dancing (I’m a pro at the Hokey Pokey and The Wheels on the Bus), we do the morning calendar and the weekly song. Then we gather our water bottles, change shoes, and head out to the park to do our stretching and run one lap around the playground before we release the kiddos to run wild on the playground. The three oldest classes go together, so I get to play with the “big kids” for an hour each morning and try to fake knowing all their names, even though they all know mine (totally not fair!)

Anyway, at the park, the munchkins, (ALL the munchkins in this case,) like to hand me stuff they find on the ground. Although pretty sure I’ve been handed something that came out of someone’s nose once…

It’s been an ongoing thing, but this week’s haul had been the most diverse and interesting assortment yet. And it got me thinking, these little guys have only known me for a month, and yet they want to share these tiny treasures they find with me. Me, a total stranger from the other side of the world!

So what did they drop into my hands this week? Well, I always get random bits of glass they dig up in the sand box. Usually they’re rounded at the edges and not sharp, but every now and then they hand me a shard that could probably pierce skin. This week I received a berry, some flowers with the roots still attached (those poor flowers never stood a chance against curious preschoolers), a handful of dirty popped water balloons, and a bottle cap. All normal things to find in a park. Recently my kiddos learned that pill bugs live around the roots of some of the bigger trees and have been depositing pill bugs into my hands, sometimes two, three, even four at a time!

Wednesday morning, one of the other students came running up to me with cupped hands, meaning there was possibly something (still) alive in his little hand cave. He comes running up and slowly opens his hands, “Teacher Allison, look a butterfly!” (The teachers here aren’t Ms/Mr anything, we’re all Teacher [insert first name here]). Sure enough, there was a butterfly with a slightly bent wing. Hopefully it was bent before the student found it.

But Thursday, not to be outdone by the butterfly on Wednesday, I had another student come running up to me with their tiny cupped hands held close to their person. This time though, there was a crowd that followed.

Great. The more students that follow, the more ‘interesting’ a thing they’ve discovered. So I held my hands out, waiting for the treasure, asking what they’ve found this time. “We found a bird!”

What.

As soon as the thing hits my hands, I drop it involuntarily. Correction, they found a tiny bird body that probably fell out of the nest as an egg. How do I know? Because another student came running up holding half a baby blue robin’s egg shell. Ugh.

I don’t understand. Are these munchkins told to give what they find to the teacher as a cultural thing? Or are they looking for praise for the thing they found? Or are they just so genuinely excited and proud of the thing they found that they want to share their joy with those around them? I don’t know.

It’s endearing having an excited four year old come running up to you bursting at the seams over a tiny treasure they discovered. Maybe it’s the thrill of a discovery made by themselves that they just want to share and tell the world about it. And if that’s the case, then I’m honored that they think so highly of me to not only show me, but willingly gift me these treasures.

These small moments made me pause and think. If something brings you joy, it’s okay to be excited and want to share that thing with the rest of the world, or family, or class, or whomever. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m trying this blog thing. I’m excited about starting something new and want to share my experiences with you guys (whether you want to hear them or not).

Also, contrary to popular belief, just because you share something, that doesn’t always mean less for you. The other day, one of my coworkers comes in and asked to borrow something from my class for her lesson that began in 10 minutes. If I had said no, she would’ve understood, but then she would’ve been in more of a panic to find another replacement. And what would I have gained by saying no? The satisfaction of knowing that my things are where they belong? How does that help? So I said yes, not knowing if she’d break it or remember to return it later; I said yes because if I were in her shoes, I’d want the other person’s help in that situation too. Sometimes the simple act of sharing is also cleverly disguised as just being a decent person. And that is a goal we should all be striving for.

I spend most of my day, trying to get three year olds excited about plants, or colors, or different animals, that maybe by them sharing their treasures with me, that’s their way of trying to get me excited about something from their world. I’m not sure exactly, but there’s a lesson on humbleness and possibly the innate desire for human connection and acceptance in there somewhere.

Although, I wouldn’t recommend dropping dead birds into a stranger’s hand without warning as a means of trying to connect with them.

5 thoughts on “What I learned in preschool: sharing is caring

  1. Erik Zimmitti

    It’s amazing what kids find, and great that they want to share. Instilling/fostering that sense of wonder is your most important job! (But maybe rubber gloves would be a good thing to have handy!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. madrej8

    This is awesome! Part of a teacher’s job is to find out what kids like in their personal lives so you can link lessons to those personal interests, so them sharing with you what they find helps you learn all those things! You can totally relate colors, shapes, and numbers to the things those kiddos hand you!

    Liked by 1 person

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