Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Philosophers and mystics agree on the importance of living in the present moment.

Be Here Now. I try, but it's definitely a practice for me. I'm an adult.

My kindergarten friends don't have to work at being in the moment like I do. Well, maybe at this time of year, with Christmas coming, they have trouble, too.

But for most of the year, this is what a calendar looks like inside a kindergarten brain:

Many four and five year-old children have fuzzy ideas about time apart from the present.

Sometimes they say "yesterday" when they mean "tomorrow." And vice versa.

Of course, as a kindergarten teacher I am expected to change that.

I am supposed to get students to think about, understand, and demonstrate that they know all about minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and even years. Knowing what philosophers say, I wish I could leave the calendar for maƱana.

When I do teach about time, I'm usually singing a calendar song, accompanying myself on guitar. My students sing along.

If I lecture on these topics, the students listen politely, patiently, but without vital interest, except in December, of course.

Here is an adult brain's calendar, as a kindergartner would imagine it:

A shout out to Bev Bos, who first showed me these calendars. If you follow this link, you can see her online store. She's got some good books and merchandise for play-based preschools.


binnery said...

You mention that children live in the now. Do they also live in the here? How do they form their concept of near and far, or accept the notion that their parents or siblings are far away?

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Well, mostly in the now. They do worry about the future and think about the past some, too.

Awareness of near and far is developing in a five year-old mind. Those terms are not absolute, so it takes a lot of experience to know what someone means when they use them. The moon is near the earth as compared to Alpha Centauri; it's far from my house compared to my school.