People-Made Solutions in Preschool

21 May People-Made Solutions in Preschool

As a preschool teacher, I often find myself bearing witness to incredible moments of discovery. It’s always my goal to help foster these moments by presenting students with meaningful materials and information, encouraging them to ask questions and creating an environment of trust and respect. Sometimes, I can’t help contemplating what their future will look like and who they’ll become – and then sometimes they just show me. Suddenly you get a glimpse, and the future looks magnificent!

Gender issues are a hot topic of discussion in our country. Women marching for equal rights, facing down their harassers in the workplace, wearing black in solidarity at award shows, and only days later, in an early childhood classroom, girls are challenging androcentric language.

During a group discussion about snow, the word “man-made” came up in contrast to “natural” snow. Immediately one girl inquired, “Why man-made?” To which another added, “Yeah, girls can make snow too!” Together the girls determined that a better word would be “people-made.” The classroom of boys and girls all agreed on this term, deciding that it seemed an obvious and fair choice.

This exchange gave me goosebumps. In a brief, significant moment I saw the promise of real change. The exciting potential of these young students and their future as tomorrow’s leaders. Perhaps they will help create a world where more observations are made, deeper questions are asked, big ideas are heard and supported and where the past is challenged.

The children in my classroom are strong, intelligent, curious and confident. Girls and boys alike stand up and speak their minds and they are always part of the conversation – because why wouldn’t they be?

It’s interesting to witness social issues being addressed in preschool. It’s even more interesting to see young children come up with solutions.


Bari Schwartz has been a teacher at Montclare Children’s School since 2004! With her MA in Education from New York University, Bari is a dedicated and passionate educator and a valued member of our community.