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Seizing the Teachable Moment

Reflections from the Field

Preschool teacher Yotisse Williams describes an experience where something didn't go as expected, and he used it as an opportunity to support children's development. By maintaining a calm demeanor and soliciting children's ideas to help solve problems, he helps children develop self-regulation, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Through modeling and questioning, he shows children how to navigate unexpected and challenging situations.

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  • Video Transcript for Seizing the Teachable Moment

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    Yotisse Williams, Preschool Teacher, Early Childhood Laboratory School at Housatonic Community College: I think taking the teachable moment is the most important thing, and I think a lot of teachers miss those opportunities, you know. This is not a tragedy; this is an opportunity.

    Yotisse: I love the way my friends are helping me put them in. Here, count them. One, two, three…
    Yotisse Williams: And see, I’m modeling, because, now, I could’ve gotten upset, but now the kids see me modeling that self-control, “Oh, instead of getting upset about it, what else could we do?”

    Yotisse: Wow, you did eight! Where are you going to play today?

    Yotisse Williams: Thing are going to happen. But it’s how you react to it, and what you do about it. And whenever I’m in doubt, you know, I go to the kids and I’ll say, “What do you think we can do?”

    Do we have enough to go around?
    Class: No!
    Yotisse: How about Jordan? What’s your idea?
    Child: We can share!
    Yotisse: Oh my goodness, what a good strategy, to share.

    Yotisse Williams: Some of the answers that come up, you know? And that’s when you really know that you’ve gone beyond teaching them for the moment; you’re teaching them for the lifetime.

    © 2016 Connecticut Office of Early Childhood
    Produced by the Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University.
    May be reprinted for educational purposes.
  • Producers: Terry Surprenant, Sean Leser
    Script: Terry Surprenant
    Editing: Sean Leser
    Videography: Sean Leser, Ken Measimer
  • The development of this video was funded by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.

    Special thanks to the Early Childhood Laboratory School at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut.