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Front Image: 

He wanted to give her a gift. Something special, as a token of their friendship.
Since he knows that she loves bunnies, he decided to draw a bunny for her.

He also drew a small kitty face on the top of the page, because her classroom symbol is a kitty.

He worked on the drawing and then presented it to her.
She smiled.
She looked at the drawing carefully and said, "But it doesn't have ears."
So he returned to the drawing table and added some ears.

He took the drawing back to her. She studied it and said, "But it doesn't have a nose."
He returned to the drawing table and added a nose.

When he showed her the drawing with the nose, she said, "But it doesn't have an attacher." (This is her word for the line between the nose and the lips, which I have since learned is called a philtrum.)

Once again he returned to the drawing table and added the "attacher."

This dance between them continued - each time he presented his drawing, she examined it and made recommendations, and each time he listened carefully and then revised his drawing. During this process, he also worked on the kitty drawing. As the bunny drawing evolved, he began to modify the kitty drawing, adding spots and an "attacher." He also glued both of their symbols onto the page.

Finally, after numerous revisions he gave her the completed picture.
She smiled and said, "Thanks."
Then she asked him to add it to her display of bunny and kitty drawings, which he did.

As you will have noticed, there's some powerful teaching and learning going on between these three year olds. She gently scaffolds and supports his drawing, while he listens carefully and follows her suggestions. This lesson in listening and looking results in a significantly more complex drawing.

When we establish a classroom culture that gives children the latitude to work from their strengths, the results are impressive. Observing this interaction between these two children confirms our belief that even very young children are skilled mentors and tutors.

The bunny drawing is a sweet and thoughtful gift between friends, but the real gift for us is seeing how capable and competent young children are.

About the Author: 

Sara has been teaching in Sabot's preschool since 1996. Over the years she has worked with children in Ireland, Scotland, France, and the United States, both as a teacher and as a children’s librarian. As part of her ongoing fascination with education, she has visited the preschools of Reggio Emilia in Italy, established a strong relationship with a Reggio-inspired school in Northern Ireland and studied for a year with a group of Freinet teachers in France.

Sara enjoys being part of a dynamic learning community that recognizes the power of children and the magic of childhood. Her particular interests are in documentation—an extraordinarily powerful communication tool with the ability to reveal the multiple layers of learning. She is also fascinated by how children respond to a sense of place, and she appreciates being part of a community that supports learning through relationships.