We have just started the school year at Summit School in Phoenix and already our preschoolers are proving themselves to be amazing. Or in this case, we should say “incredible.”*
*Dictionary definitions of “incredible” vary as to the degree of implausibility, but we’re going to go with this definition from dictionary.com: “so extraordinary as to seem impossible.” Seem impossible, but clearly not actually impossible, as our young students prove, time and again.
Like most preschool classes, each class in our preschool creates community and a sense of belonging and identity by adopting a name. At our school, the students propose – and vote on – their class name each year.
This year, the name that rose to the top in a series of elimination votes (winning out over “Blue Dinosaurs”) in my class, was “Incredibles.” OK, yes, it arose from the popularity of the movies of that name, and a set of characters that most of our class could envision … and relate to. When the vote was in, my co-teacher, Fredie, asked the student who proposed the name to describe the qualities of the Incredibles. She told Fredie that incredible people:
- solve problems
- get bad guys
- are super strong
- are super fast
- are super stretchy
- have awesome powers
- are really smart
Over the next week, we discussed with the class how these qualities would apply to them, and solicited their ideas. Our “Incredibles” described how the movie characters displayed each characteristic. We then asked the children how they use similar powers and display those characteristics. In their words:
We solve a problem …
“If two friends are fighting, they go to the Peace Table and work it out by finding a solution.”
We deal with someone behaving badly…
“If people aren’t making good choices, you should tell them NO!” “Tell them to STOP!” “Call the police.”
We use our super strong muscles to … “open our cheese sticks” and “carry our cots!”
We go super fast … “when we play tag!” and “when we clean up!” and “when we’re late for school!”
In the movie, Elastigirl is very stretchy, so “her arms can go far.” We translated that to the idea of being physically flexible … “like when we do warm-ups,” they said. We are mentally flexible, too, when we have to change our plans. A student gave this example: “when it was storming, we couldn’t have recess outside.”
We feel powerful when we … “run super-fast and ride my bicycle super-fast,” “do exercise and really use my muscles,” “pick up my toys all by myself,” “play piano,” “build big Lego® kits!” were some of the responses.
We are super smart because … we learn really fast, we love learning big words, and we think of ways to help people … “if people are sad you can give them something like a hug or a toy” or “you can make something for them in the Art Center.”
Well, after considering all that… one of our incredible four-year-olds (remembering that we had created a class chant last year), began making up a chant as she danced around the playroom at home. Fortunately her mother heard her and quickly recorded her words:
We are the Incredibles!
Super smart and super strong,
We use our incredible minds all day long.
No challenge is too big,
‘Cause we work super fast.
This year is going to be …
An in-cred-i-ble BLAST!”
I asked my musically-talented husband if he would create a melody to fit her lyrics. He did. So now we have a wonderful class song, written by one of our own incredible preschoolers.
My mother finds it hard to believe that, after 22 years, I’m still not tired of teaching preschoolers…. It’s because they constantly amaze us. That’s not so incredible, is it?