Am I safe? Can I trust you? Will you be there for me when I need you? Do I feel connected?
In a seemingly endless loop these questions are hardwired into our psyche as we go through our daily interactions, both as children and as parents. In adult life, perhaps, perseverance in mindfulness activity brings a new awareness of the present, the now. And, in everyday life, these questions of safety are nearly always there. Depending on the answer in any given moment, we either relax – lower our defences – or our stress levels increase and we prepare for “fight or flight”.
As a child, the responses that we get to these questions over an extended time will pave the path (hardwire the brain) for our behavior around trust as adults. Think of a triangle where the child is at the top, the primary caregiver (usually a parent) is at the bottom left corner and the teacher is at the bottom right corner. For the child to feel connected and safe, there needs to be a flow of communication among the three corners. For the younger child, this is especially crucial when separating from the parent in the morning and reuniting after school.
Steiner asked the teachers to receive the children in reverence, educate them in love and send them forth in freedom.
So, let us treat our hellos and goodbyes with reverence – the reverence that comes with a present state of mind. This means cellphones are put away, and we give at least five minutes of your undivided attention to wish your children goodbye in the morning and hand them over (connect) to the teacher. At pick up time, the reverse process is established when the teacher returns the children to their parents who welcome them back into home life.
This is a simple way for parents and teachers to create that safe and beautiful flow that bridges the gap between home and school.
Paola Mondati-Muirhead, Preschool Aftercare Teacher.