Sunday, April 11, 2010

Early learning articles

All I really need to know I learned in Early Childhood...
Posted Friday, February 26, 2010 by Jennifer Anderl
        When I was in high school, my favorite author was Robert Fulghum. His books were made up             of real-life vignettes full of universal truths that held mass appeal. At the time, I aspired to be a                    writer and while a novel, complete with an intricate plotline and well-developed characters,                     seemed too large of a task – short, humorous, and meaningful snippets were right up my alley. I
never did become a writer, at least not a published one, but one of Fulghum’s most famous e
ssays (and the title of one of his books) remains relevant to me and anyone who works in the 
field of early childhood. It has been reprinted in numerous magazines, appears on a multitude 
of websites, and was made into posters which hang in countless kindergarten classrooms. 
And while I am sure most of us who work with young children have seen or heard of this essay, 
I felt it would be fitting to repeat it here, as its basic tenets align so well with what we all do 
and teach, each and every day…

All I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be 
I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, 
but there in the sand pile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and 
dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the 
plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam 
cup – they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the 
biggest word of all – LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and 
basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and 
apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds 
true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the 
whole world – had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then l
ay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy 
to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out in the world, 
it is best to hold hands and stick together.
[Source: Fulghum, R. (1988). Credo. In All I really need to know I learned in 
kindergarten: uncommon thoughts on common things (pp. 1-3). New York: Villard Books.]

Now, turn off the computer and share yourself with others. Be fair to those around you 
and apologize if you’re not. Play. Allow yourself some quiet time. Hold hands with the 
ones you love. And while you’re at it, have some milk and cookies and LOOK for the 
wonder in your life, because it is there – we’re just usually too busy to see it.

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