Discovering the Importance of Trust

As educators, we realize the important of developing trust. We want families to trust us with the education and well-being of their children. We want kids to feel safe in our classrooms. We want those we work with to trust us and our judgment. All of this is important, and all of this is focusing on whether or not people trust us. But now I challenge you to think about how much you trust the children in your program…

At a recent visit to an area preschool classroom I watched a veteran teacher go through a typical, early-in-the-school-year circle time experience. Some children were singing the morning welcome song, but many others were pushing, hugging, grabbing or otherwise handling one another, chatting, lying down and one child was even rolling across the floor in the center of the circle. The teacher corrected the behaviors with a look or touch when she could, but rather than reprimand the group, or work on appropriate circle time behaviors, she chose to end the circle time quickly and dismissed children individually or in groups of 2 to find something to work on among the variety of manipulative and materials available within child’s reach along the classroom shelves. Amazingly, within five minutes, every child was engaged in some kind of activity. The chaos of circle time was replaced with the buzz of children happily engaging in the productive work of play.

What struck me about this experience is the level of trust that the teacher had in her student’s abilities and desire to select an activity and become actively engaged. It made me remember that trust is a two-way street. Children will be more likely to trust us if we trust them. The same holds true of our colleagues and the families we serve. What do you do to promote trust?

Check out this article about one teacher’s perspective on trust: The Challenges and Rewards of Trusting Children

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