What? Wait a minute!

The other day I was watching a 3 year old child serve herself snack. This was in our after-care program, not regular class time, so there were a number of students eating snack including lower and upper elementary students. A teacher was standing by monitoring the area as the child carefully picked up crackers one by one and placed them on her plate.

The sign said five, so she counted each one carefully. When she was done, she counted them again on the plate. “One, two, three, four, six.” She looked up at the teacher as if to say, “What?” He just shrugged at her. So she put one back and counted again. “One, two, three, four.” She got another cracker and put it on the plate. “One, two, three, four, six.” She looked at the teacher again and got another shrug.

All the other students were watching, too, but no one said a thing. She put one back. “One, two, three, four.” She put one back on the plate. “One, two, three, four, five!” She smiled up at the teacher, he smiled back, and the other students cheered.

If we can just stay out of their way, our children can teach themselves most of the time. No one corrected her. No one gave her a hint. They knew she could figure it out. And both they and the child had the patience and focus to just trust the process. It is far less likely for her to skip “five” in the future. And the look of satisfaction on her face was just plain beautiful.