Each year we begin our journey as a classroom community by asking ourselves the questions:
Who am I?
Who are You?
…And Who are We, Together?
We play about with these ideas through discussion, through our artwork, through sharing space and materials, through our first connections, and our first conflicts with one another. It is such brave work the children are doing, as they explore the intricacies of who they are and what their unique contribution to their community might be.
Of course they are not asking themselves these questions literally, but they have wonderings and make discoveries each day that pertain to this theme. “I am the girl who sometimes makes her friends laugh when they are sad. Who is allergic to dairy. Who learned to skate this summer. YOU are the guy who loves cats. ‘CAT’ was the first word you learned to spell! Today you are the guy who enjoys ramming his bike into stumps. WE are the people who love popcorn with sea salt…who want to hear ‘Tough Boris’ again…who don’t want to clean up when it’s time to come inside…”
These examples are oversimplified; our definitions of ourselves and each other are incredibly complex and ever-evolving. As teachers, we are deeply honored to be able to listen to and observe the children, and sometimes even capture their first explorations of these core questions. “Who am I?” “Who are You?” “Who are We when we are together?”
Like us, the children are sometimes hesitant, and wonder if they will be appreciated and celebrated by those around them. Our message to them in these first days of school is YES! You belong here, and we can’t wait to get to know you better. YES! You have unique gifts to offer our community. And most importantly, YES! This is a safe place to show us who you are.