A couple of weeks ago I had a personal and practical lesson about preschool learning styles – and a reminder that it usually doesn’t involve sitting in neat rows being quiet and still! My four-year-old and three-year-old grandchildren had spent the weekend with me and were part of my small group. Perhaps it was lack of both sleep and routine, but the three-year-old was definitely not interested (or so I thought) in the amazing storyteller during large group time. She twisted and turned, played with her hair, played with my hair, somehow managed to break my glasses… basically did everything but turn cartwheels and stand on her head (and I’m pretty sure those were next on her agenda).
Later that day while we were eating lunch, her parents asked the magic question that we know every parent asks, “what did you learn today?” As I thought about all the possible things I thought she learned that day — how delicious goldfish are, what Grandma looks like upside down, how easily glasses break — to my amazement she immediately piped up that Saul said if you tell people about God I will put you in jail. These were exactly the words our large group storyteller had used that hectic morning! She proceeded to fill in many details including that Jesus wants her to tell others about Him.
Wow! while I had been so concerned about her squirmy, preschool ways (and to be honest probably a bit worried about the other volunteers questioning my ability to successfully grandparent) she had been absorbing everything. In that moment, I was so grateful I had not spent the morning trying to get her to sit still and listen. It can be easy to get frustrated with our wiggly preschoolers and forget they don’t learn like we do – or even how their big brothers and sisters do. Sometimes, the best way for a preschooler to learn is by standing on her head!
Do you ever have those days? How do you remind yourself that even when we think our preschoolers are not listening, they probably are?