Paradise and Parenting Child’s Play

This will come as a surprise to many of you, but teaching preschool isn’t all glamor and fat paychecks. People often don’t realize that an early childhood educator may have dedicated nearly half her life and a substantial portion of her parents’ hard-earned dollars in pursuit of this career.  Oh sure, part of the job involves sitting on the bathroom floor, shouting helpful, sing-song advice through the door and showing people where their sock seams are.  But this is in addition to a deep knowledge of how a child’s brain develops linguistically, physically, emotionally and cognitively and the ability to apply this in a classroom setting every day with every student on the class roster.

Preschool teachers get asked questions such as “but don’t you just play all day?” or, “isn’t it just basically babysitting?”  On a side note, I’ve actually never heard anyone ask a high school teacher “but don’t you just stand around talking to teenagers all day?” or “isn’t it just a chaperoning gig?” ‘Cause who would ever ask such a silly question?  Ahem.

However, certain times of the year do bring about a certain amount of vindication.  Christmas is one of those times.   Our preschool Christmas program is naturally high on the cuteness spectrum, and people tend to chat up our performances until the preschool students are in high school and embarrassed beyond belief that we all remember their habit of rolling their dresses to their chins on stage.

This year, my nursery students are dressing up like snowmen.  They have created their own hats and buttons and will sing “I’m a Little Snowman.”  I know, right?  But let me tell you, they are all very serious about their performance, and don’t take kindly to any cute comments thrown out from bystanders.  They are in it for the art, in other words.

However, once they get onstage, the “papa”razzi will get out their cameras, and about 50% of the class will then refuse to perform.  The other 50% will put it all out there, red-faced with effort, singing their hearts out about that Little Snowman, still SO COLD even with a Hat and a Scarf.  There will be a flurry of applause and then kisses and goodbyes for Miss Leza.

Later, the parents will share the video with family and friends and acquaintances, etc. and while they are watching it, smiling, for the 45th time (it’s really going to be that cute), they will stop for a second.  Because that’s their precious child, singing (or not) in a language that, four months ago, was completely unknown to them.

Trust me, folks, that’s a pretty cool thing to realize about your amazing little person. Lucky for preschool teachers in English immersion programs, we get to see it every day.   And, I guess, we make it all look just like child’s play.


  1. Hi Leza,

    I am amazed how soon young puppies can be toilet trained, taught commands, and as adults can , depending on the breed, learn to recognize up to some 900 English words. And that they have such a short lifetime compared to people. A Chimpanzee , can, with an appropriate apt , be taught to communicate with an iPad with other Chimps. Also to aim and fire a multi clip riffle

    Spare the rod, and spoil the child. In China, and in America, a Chinese student will on average, out perform a white, brown, and black student in school. Because of my training by my parents, and expectations, I was able to master many of my classes prior to the completion of the course, and out perform the Chinese students..

    The subject of your article is teaching pre school children. Before you assume the school instruction of these children, they should have learned at home from their parents, the basic elements of speech, , counting, and their alphabet .Parents who want their children to be successful in life, must start teaching their babies even before they are born.

    Learning is a lifetime pursuit, and must begin at a very early age to be ahead of the group. This is the culture of the Chinese parent , and why their children are so successful in the schools. I can still remember in Kindergarten , there was no preschool back during WWII, learning to paint with water colors with a brush on a paper a frame easel .

    By the first grade, the boys were learning capitalism in the school yard with glass marbles, with fabricated cigar boxes cut with open doors that players could shoot marbles into from a distance to win marbles. I filled a five gallon glass jar in the first and second grades. My first paying job by the second grade was a 100 paper , after school paper route, on the hills between my home and the school four blocks away, which I walked myself to school every day.

    My children and grandchildren mostly have done better than me and my wife. Especially the girls, even one with autism. What I learned from my parents, I taught to my children, and they in turn taught to their children. In the K-12 junior and high school, two of the grandchildren are earning money referring after school soccer games and saving money for their first car. I earned and purchased my first car by the age of fifteen from working paying jobs.

    It is difficult to hold back a determined to succeed student, but many parents and teachers are quite successful..

  2. I read in my morning SF Examiner newspaper, “Achievement gap remains for state Latino students “. It starts off : “As Hispanic population grows, education stats continue to lag behind”.

    In California 53% of the states 6 million school children are Hispanic. Just 33% of Hispanic students are proficient at reading in third grade, and by high school 1 in 4 Hispanic 10th graders cannot pass the high school math exit exam.

    Nationally Latino enrollment is presently 1 out of 4 students, and White students account for just 52 % of first graders. Many Hispanic students are children of Mexican immigrants who did not complete high school, and cannot provide academic support to their children.

    Educators are aware that some students learn by hearing and seeing, some by physically doing, and some a combination of both. However, today, science is aware of over 40 different senses in our bodies, and not just the commonly known five.

    This opens a new world of learning and understanding. It also opens our eyes to children who remember prior lives, as do our most inventive people who bring with them the knowledge of their past lives. Take Nicola Tesla, “The Man out of time”, who invented the AC electrical grid with his some 1,000 patients. Then there is Einstein and relativity ; Watson’s discovery of the DNA double helix; Neils Bohr’s Quantum Mechanics and the structure of the atom.

    The children and students have much to teach us adults, because they arrive with all their many senses in an active mode. I have learned much from my wife, especially after marriage, due to her sharing her memory of five past lives, two of which we were also married, and the existence of past greater civilizations where she lived. My oldest daughter also remembers one of these past lives where we were her parents also.

  3. A newly discovered concept involving the mind is “Grounded Cognition “, or the tricking of the mind to think it is doing something that it is not, and thru heightened connectivity of the brain associated with receptivity for language as well for the primary sensory motor regulation of the brain neurons.

    This may involve protagonist where one associates with the main character of a novel or drams, and the effect can linger on for some five days.

    Consider one who is wrapped up in day dreaming , video games, or even pornography . In my early tennis teaching days back in the 1970s, I used this effect by suggesting to my working students that if they did not have time to practice on the tennis court during the week, they could still condition their tennis strokes by imagining then in their mind , and without any physical motion, they could perfect their strokes. Even doing this as they performed the physical stroke during a game.

    Grounded cognation may be the answer when a person comes out of a coma, and speaks an unfamiliar foreign language ,have a different personality; or wake up after dreaming and have a new idea for a new invention or science; or even remember a prior life.

  4. I thought this was a very relevant article written by Leza. I am just confused…what relevancy is there in the comments that follow??

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