When I tell people I teach kindergarten, I get a variety of reactions that usually fall between “how adorable” to “bless your soul” to “the year of nose-picking, huh?” If there was one thing I could tell people that don’t have much experience with Kindergarten (including my past self), it’s that kindergarteners, especially the ones in our community, need to be given credit for being the amazing little humans they are.
As a Kinder teacher, you get to experience the year in which students are skimming the surface of exploring their identities, their beliefs, their values and understandings of the world around them and the people in it. You get to experience the year where the filter doesn’t exist.
As adults, we’ve lived years of developing this filter that keeps us from sharing parts of ourselves. Kindergarteners are often the best models for showing vulnerability and authenticity. And when they share parts of their world, they encourage you to share parts of yours too. If there is anything my kids have taught me, it’s that vulnerability and authenticity aren’t traits we develop, they were qualities that were always there. We were once five, wild-minded, silly, open-hearted and curious with the world. In their respective ways, they love to remind you of that.
And this, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
Here are some particular moments, both silly and thought-provoking, that show examples of kindergarteners and their unfiltered nature.
Sometimes, they share advice:
“We had a garage sale, but no one came. I say never have a garage sale if no one wants to buy your things.”
“If you want your friends to be nice to you, you have to tell them nicely to be nice.”
Sometimes, they act as a miniature Dalai-lama:
“Everyone has their own future.”
“We can’t be mean, that’s not a good life.”
“If you’re a boy or a girl, it doesn’t matter. You can like whatever you want.”
“I’ve changed my ways.” I ask him what’s changed, and he responds: “Life…just life.”
Sometimes, they just want their needs to be met:
“I miss my mom. Can I hug you, then can I hug a Kimochi?”
“I wish I could eat hotdogs every day, especially when I take a bath.”
“I don’t want to be here. I want to be home. I need to play goat simulator.”
“Squishy bananas make me sad. Can I have a good banana?”
“This is my dad. He went to jail. I missed him so much.”
Sometimes, they want to let their feelings be known:
“I’m the queen of everything!”
“You make me so angry, I am going to keep looking at you with my serious eyes!”
“If I finish my work, can I spend a week in calm castle?”
“I’m scared of aliens because one time they abduct me.”
“I love you all the way to school, I love you all the way to my grandma’s house, I love you all the way to God.”
“For my birthday, I’m going to Disneyland hotel, and you’re going to miss me.”
Sometimes, they practice the art of negotiation with striking candor:
“If we listen and follow your directions again, will you wear that flower dress tomorrow?”
“I want to be Elsa for Halloween because she has powers better than Batman” A boy in the class says: “That’s not true! Batman is better!” A different boy rebuttals: “Elsa can beat batman because she can freeze him and the whole place.”
“Come to my house again. My mom will give you more jello.”
“If I’m good, can my clip go on your head, then my head?”
And sometimes, they remind us of what it is to be curious, unpredictable, and a little bit silly:
“He said I have a potato in my pantalones!”
“What kind of super power does an apple give us?” The same student a couple minutes later sticks an apple on a fork while shouting: “I’ve created a healthy lollipop!”
“Knock, Knock.” Who’s there? “Nothing” Nothing who? “I said there was nothing!”
“I know your real name, but it’s okay, I won’t tell anyone because it’s a secret!”
Share other examples of student wisdom and humor → @RocketshipEd
Adrienne Elijah is a kindergarten STEM teacher at Rocketship Los Sueños. She graduated from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in literature and a minor in education and applied psychology. Adrienne enjoys visiting family, reading graphic novels, writing haikus and eating homemade dessert with friends.