I recently attended a conference with a keynote from Dr Newfeld. The twitter version of it is #kidswilllearniftheyformanattatchmenttoyou. That is what children are hardwired to do. Follow their Mother Duck, because they trust, believe, accept, care, respect. Hardwired to balk at following some random duck just cause they were told to. That all the pedagogy, and technology, and time matters for naught if kids are not attached to you. That for some kids that means physical contact. Hmmm.
Years ago, when I first started all this that we called “school”, this ability to form a connection with the kids in my care came very naturally - hugs, hands, head pats, were a regular part of the day. I did stop wearing skirts though. Kinders have a weird affection for ankles encased in pantihose! As I taught older children, the level of connection didn’t change, just the way we showed it. Tickles, Bonks, or a Wink on the way out the door was a great favourite - most picked getting bonked with a long wrapping paper roll, and nothing is as much fun as trying to wink.
A combination of settings and circumstances have slowly discouraged me from being that type of Mother Duck. I have over the years slowly stepped back from the deep and often demonstrative world that is connecting and caring for children. I have heard myself say “Hugs are for at home sweetie - can I have a handshake?” Political correctness, and all that. There are, of course, more professional and less personal ways to show kids they matter. I know, I still have managed to connect with kid anyway.
Except for three little ducklings in my care this year. Of course, handshakes are not enough. They push past the hand and into a hug. They tug my hand and twirl into a better hug. They know. They know it matters. They know I have missed it. They know it makes me better.
So. I am leaping back in. Quack! Quack! Tickles, bonks, hugs, hands, winks - bring it on. Because connection brings caring, and caring brings respect, and when a duckling looks at you with care and respect, you can help them do anything.