Written by: Sandra Torrez, teacher of Brickell International Academy
Let’s think for a moment, what we could do in a classroom of babies, to create a place where they can live a sustainable culture of thinking?
The interaction with a baby goes beyond what you can imagine. It goes beyond the crying, feeding, and resting. In order to create a Culture of Thinking, is important to take into account 8 Cultural Forces. In this document, we will discover what these forces are and how these can help create a sustainable culture of thinking from early childhood.
Ron Ritchhart calls these forces “the glasses to see what is valued within a culture”. Through the VESS Program we have discovered the thinking process of babies, using different strategies that encourage the development of a Culture of Thinking.
We create learning opportunities from stimulating experiences that take the baby to explore the world and to fully develop, while using and valuing the spontaneous opportunities that come from the babies, to connect with new learnings. By creating these provocations, we are taking into account that each baby is unique and that each has its own learning process. We respect and understand, that moments such as sleeping, changing a diaper and feeding, among others, are very important.
We mold the thinking language when we describe what we do, when we use a different tone of voice to express emotions, when we cheer, ask and talk to them as we were talking to another adult. As teachers, we are conscious of the importance of creating a bond with each baby and we understand that this bond is what is going to help us comprehend and interpret what each baby tries to communicate when he/she cries, smiles, babbles, gestures and makes sounds, etc.; they can tell us what they think and feel in different ways.
We value each of their interactions, we make them visible, we get excited, and we celebrate them. Is amazing to see how babies show empathy among them, for example if a baby cries, his/her friend gets close and with all the simplicity and love in the world gives his/her pacifier to comfort him/her, the biggest treasure of all!, the pacifier, he/she gives it to his/her friend to make him/her feel better!
We believe in what we do and we are convinced that by modeling the thinking routines, we are giving babies the tools to create constant sequences of thought. It is not about building up a wall, it is about tearing it apart.
We implement VESS with babies, taking into consideration all the areas of development, satisfying all the basic needs in order to get a “Meaningful Life, with Balance and Wisdom”.