As teachers, sometimes our hands are tied by school or district policies when it comes to exposing our little learners to cultural or religious holidays. I was always glad to be allowed to teach holidays, as long as these were taught in an all-inclusive way that made children aware of the diverse ways and days people celebrate but didn’t promote one over another.
November is here. Along with the holiday music and all the planning we busy ourselves with (who is hosting what and when, coordinating adorable outfits, travel plans, conniving to get people the most perfect gifts, food shopping, gift buying…is your head spinning like a dreidel yet?!?), November causes us to pause and reflect on all we are grateful for. As parents and educators, our thoughts also turn to being intentional with how we model and teach gratitude to our children.
Of course, children won’t learn to be grateful from one day, week, or even month of thanksgiving, but we can use this time to reflect on what we are doing right, what we might do better, and put some of our ideas into action.
In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the definition of rigor and it was a bit alarming at first.
In Part 2, we focused on achieving rigor through play by intentionally challenging our little ones, challenging being one of the key terms in our definition of educational rigor.
In Part 3, I want to really drive home a point about rigor:
Rigor may feel uncomfortable at times, but we have to embrace that in order to optimize and allow for learning to occur.
Rather than argue why rigor and play are not opposing ideas or camps in early childhood education (see Rigor in Play, Part 1), isn’t the best way to demonstrate the point, simply to show HOW we achieve rigor through play?
To do so, let’s pull out some of the key elements from our educational definition of rigor. Let’s start with challenging.
Ensuring that children’s play is challenging requires a few things from us (maybe even challenging ourselves first).
If you are a teacher or follow educational trends, you are quite familiar with the term rigor. You probably have a love/hate relationship with it. Yet many teachers struggle with really defining it or explaining it to parents.
So, let’s search Google for a dictionary definition. Wait, wait, nope, that’s startling. Hell, even depressing.
Webster’s definition includes words like: harsh inflexibility, severity, unyielding or inflexible, strictness, austerity, even cruelty, extremity of cold, rigidity, stiffness, strict precision, and a definition for the medical term rigor mortis. Yikes, people! How does this word belong in education?