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January 23, 2023

Encouraging Self-Expression in Children

We encourage expression in every classroom, because we believe our differences make us better!

Every parent of young children knows that these early years hold a lot of new (and big) emotions. Helping kids express themselves allows them to create new understandings of the world and people around them while building their confidence. At Tierra Encantada, we strive to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to be their most authentic selves. Our differences make us better!

In our classrooms:

Every Wednesday, our preschool and pre-k classrooms participate in Show & Share! Every child is invited to bring a toy, photo, or other favorite item from home to show with their class and talk about. During show and share, our teachers encourage telling stories and expressing how the item makes a little one feel. These moments allow our classes to practice individual expression while building empathy and understanding with their peers. Check out our Instagram for an inside look at show and tell in our classrooms!

Free time is a foundational part of our daily routine, and allows kids to choose their favorite activity! Each of our classrooms offer choices, from art, to playing pretend, to reading, to puzzles- not to mention the freedom found in our indoor/outdoor playgrounds! Incorporating free time allows kids to evaluate options and make their own decisions. It’s also a natural way to facilitate classmate interaction and develop important skills for friendship!

At home:

One of the most important parts of self expression comes from YOU. Engaging and supportive caregivers are essential to a child’s own skills.

Here are some daily ways you can encourage your little one’s voice!

  • When getting dressed in the morning, try giving them options, or letting them pick out their own outfit!  Help your child feel confident in their clothing by cheering on their choices.
  • When it’s time to color or paint, let your little one create art without limits. Enjoy the process, not the product! Coloring outside the lines, or including a variety of materials with no goal in sight can allow their imaginations to grow! The same goes for building or playing games- rules can be suggestions, and while those blocks might be originally made to build a castle, they can change to become a traffic jam! 
  • Share a creative story. Often, children will start with an event from their day “We had milk at lunch!” and introduce their imagination along the way “… and there were purple tigers who drank mine!” Have fun listening, asking questions (“Oh my! Then what did they do?”) and see where their ideas take you!
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