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We had the most overwhelming response to our recent give away where we asked you to share with us the one piece of advice or lesson learnt from a mentor that has influenced your teaching the most. We compiled your entries into lists, defined by category and filled with all of the best advice given to our Storypark users by their mentors past and present. This list focuses on the ways you work with children. We hope you share this list with others, and take the advice of others to continue to learn, reflect and grow as educators.

  • Observe! Sit back and observe. You will learn everything from a child, remember to have curiosity, imagination and wonder. Let children take the lead in their own journey of learning.
  • Treat every child’s actions as a learning story. As in, pay attention to everything they do which can be a learning moment.
  • Never worry about the silent interactions, its thinking time.
  • Let them be who they want to be, what we think is not necessarily what they are thinking.
  • It’s OK to show your students that you don’t know it all, but that you are willing to improve and learn too. This models to children that learning is an ongoing process and you as a teacher are also a learner.
  • Slow down. And when you slow down, take a step back and slow down a little more.
  • Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.
  • Ask yourself why are you really saying “no”. Is there actually more learning when you say “yes”. A lot of times “no” is an automatic response given for no good reason.
  • Listen to the children’s verbal and non verbal language and have fun.
  • You need to view the world from the child’s eyes in order to gain their perspective.
  • Be yourself. Children need your authentic self, not what you think others want.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. In other words sometimes you have to accept things don’t always go as planned. Too true when working with young children.
  • Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.
  • The best teachers are those who show the children where to look, but don’t tell them what to see. I love this.
  • Slow your practice down and give a little of yourself to build relationships because without trusting relationships, you will never truly understand a child and how they best learn.
  • Wet weather is no excuse to stay indoors.
  • Always teach children where they are at. Not where we as adults expect them to be. Child’s play is just that, and even adults are forever learning. Remember children can always teach us, as we teach them.
  • Stand back and watch, you may see something amazing.
  • Just be you and don’t be afraid to step out of the box.
  • In relation to rearranging the room, remember children come each day with a plan. They plan who they are going to play with, where they are going to play, and the equipment they will use. If we change our environments without the children being involved, we are throwing those plans into disarray. When conveying this message to other educators, I always ask “How would you feel if I came to your house and moved your furniture around?”
  • Find something positive about every child you teach so that you can teach every child positively.
  • Listen to the children, and also sit back and let them take the lead and learn from them. You will be surprised at what they can teach us if we only stop and listen.
  • Allow yourself to see from the child’s perspective; walk in their shoes.

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Posted by Sonya McIntyre

Sonya went to Rata Street Kindergarten and Petone kindergarten. She gained her Bachelor of Education at Victoria University in Wellington and has worked as an educator and manager in home based care, community based and kindergarten services.


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