Kindergarten Wall, A poem about children and stress
Children are amazing little seeds that will someday grow into wise and sturdy trees. Parents, teachers, and therapists are some of the most helpful resources and advocates for today’s children. With so much going on in the world, so many expectations in school, and abundant research on how childhood relationships shape young people long into adulthood, it is important to know whom you can count on through the trials and tribulations of family life.
Family therapists are the relationship teachers of the world. We work with relationship dynamics, parenting, couples, conflict, communication, and trace relationship patterns through generations. Just as teachers prepare children for the next grade level, family therapists can prepare children for the more complex emotions and relationships they will experience as they grow up.
As a therapist, I use this poem to convey relationship lessons to children. This poem is part of a longer song, which I was first exposed to as a child when my mother sang it to the kindergarten class that she was teaching. Line by line, it reminds me and my clients of what is important in life:
Don’t hurt each other—Have empathy, even when you are hurt or angry.
Clean up your mess—Take responsibility for your words and actions.
Take a nap every day—Value self-care and rest.
Wash before you eat—Remember health and wellness.
Hold hands, stick together—Look out for others, and they will look out for you.
Look before you cross the street—Slow down; avoid unnecessary danger.
Remember the seed in the little paper cup: first the root grows down—Your family and past are part of who you are.
And then the plant grows up—You can be anything you want to be!
Parents, you can share this poem with your child(ren), or pull up the Kindergarten Wall YouTube video for the full folk song. In your own way, you are already teaching your child(ren) the lessons they need to be happy, healthy adults. Therapists and teachers have this in common with you: we aim to give children the tools they need to succeed. As the popular saying goes, it takes a village. Family therapists are privileged to be a part of your village.