Often at dinnertime in my house my family asks me to tell them stories about the children at school. Here are a few recent ones:
- Yesterday I was wearing a University of Michigan fleece with the signature yellow “M” emblazoned on the front when a 4-year-old boy passed me in the hallway and said: “Miss Ellie! I know why that is your jacket! It belongs to Miss Ellie, M-m-m-Miss Ellie.”
- When the dentist visited our classroom he handed out necklaces in the shape of a tooth, telling the children they could put their baby teeth inside when they fall out. After he had been there for about 15 minutes I noticed that one three-year-old girl was sitting crying with tears streaming down her cheeks. When I asked her what was wrong she said: “Miss Ellie, I don’t want to lose my teeth!”
What each of these stories has in common is in part what makes preschoolers interesting and wonderful. As children construct knowledge they work with limited experience and information. So often something that appears to be perfectly logical to them, makes us smile as adults. The reasoning is there, but the conclusion is surprising or funny because of limited information. What we often describe as “cute” is really a picture of children logically constructing knowledge and trying to make sense of this crazy world in which we live!