Early Education Director
Practicing Unconditional Love
During the December Snapshot, the Early Education Department announced an opportunity for early educators to submit a story sharing how they demonstrate unconditional love to the children in their EE program. I am sharing Mary Chapman’s collection of stories as they exemplify her tender love for precious young lives in her classroom. Mary states, “When I prayerfully seek God’s wisdom and insight for each child, He is faithful to teach me how to love and accept each one, as He does, no matter what personalities and behaviors they come with, so that I can guide them to become the person God has designed them to be.”
Unconditional Love in Pre-Kindergarten, By Mary Chapman
Four-year-old Isabella—with her long, thick, curly, black hair—liked to, well, roar! When I quieted my class for a story or to give directions, I think the quietness seemed unbearable to Isabella, and she felt compelled to add some sound. It was an on-going challenge for me as her teacher. Then, one day I found a God-ordained moment to chat with Isabella apart from the class. I called her my little lion. “I love lions!” I said, “but sometimes I have to ask my lions to save their roar for just the right time.” We sat and compared roars and talked about the best time for a good roar. She seemed pleased that I could appreciate a fine roar and agreed to try to save it for the right time. I love Isabella, roar and all!
Karena spoke the language of questions. Her light brown hair, with its slight curliness, framed the serious expression on her face. I know, all kids ask questions, but Karena beat them all! She could wear me down with the volume and complexity of her questions. Caught off guard, her questions often made me feel foolish and unprepared. But God helped me appreciate her keen curiosity and superpowers of observation, even when poorly timed. As we explored finding answers together, she provided a fresh perspective on things that I thought I knew well. I love Karena, questions and all!
Flint was soooooo emotional! His dark eyes would burst with tears at the slightest of injuries or disappointments! Sometimes the tears would splash onto his green shirt. (Green was his favorite color.) His outbursts could happen at any time and could not be ignored. Nor should they be. The injuries were real to Flint. I made time to listen to him and then encouraged him to be part of the problem-solving process. I prayed with him, hugged him, and showed genuine appreciation as his sensitive heart grew more resilient. I love Flint, outbursts and all!
Benjamin wanted my job! He was only four, with sunny, blonde hair and a cherub face, but he was after my job! As I gave directions, he interrupted to tell me a better way to do it. When I instructed the class, he would be watching to see if the other children were complying. If not, he would correct them. He bossed others when they were at play like the captain of an army platoon. It was annoying to everyone! But Benjamin had a gift. I have no doubt that someday he will be a leader with potential for greatness! I had to make it clear, though, that at age four, he couldn’t be the leader of my class. I found age-appropriate leadership opportunities for him and asked him to help me make some important decisions. I did my best to use his God-given talent while guiding him to respect my role and understand his. I love Benjamin, bossiness and all!
One of the greatest examples of unconditional love is God’s relationship with me. I wonder if He sometimes tells stories in Heaven about “Mrs. Mary—that Pre-K teacher with the glasses and straight brown hair who’s always trying to lose five pounds. She can be so goofy! But goofiness is something I can work with. I love Mrs. Mary, goofiness and all!”
When I prayerfully seek God’s wisdom and insight for each child, He is faithful to teach me how to love and accept each one, as He does, no matter what personalities and behaviors they come with, so that I can guide them to become the person God has designed them to be.
Mary Chapman is the Preschool Director and Pre-K Teacher at Calvary Christain School in Queen Creek, Arizona. Congratulations on winning a complimentary registration to one of our virtual early education conferences coming up in February and March!
Register today for an upcoming event that fits your schedule!
Virtual Early Education Conferences We have three Virtual Early Education Conferences coming up in Feb and March so that you can choose to sign your team up for the one that best fits with your center’s schedule. Your team will receive biblically based instruction on pertinent topics important to you. Not only will we learn from Dr. Milt Uecker on how to nurture your classroom and embrace your purpose to flourish, we also have many great Breakout Sessions for you and your team to choose from!
Director’s Day is on February 26th and we pray you have already signed up to come and connect with other EE leaders and learn from Betsy Winkle about the neurological impact of trauma on children and strategies to support children in the school setting, imbedded with the truth that we are all created in God’s image.
As early educators, we all know how vital play is for the children in our classrooms. Check out our upcoming webinar on Feb 24th focusing on ‘Re-engage Play for Healthy Learning. Dr. Michelle Clevenger, Associate Professor at Columbia International University, will walk through why play is so important in the lives of children from a biblical perspective. You can read more about this webinar on the Early Ed webinar page.
Sara Jo Dillard
Director of Early Education