In an article in Exchange Magazine, "Respect is a Verb", Karen Stephens writes about the importance of helping children develop respect and put it into practice. She explains:
"Dr. Katherine Read, a historical leader in our field, called early childhood classrooms ‘human relationship laboratories.’ I couldn't agree more. Helping children learn positive social skills, like the how's and why's of actions and reactions, the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, and the knack of getting along with peers and adults, is some of the most important business you and I attend to daily. Children's ability to maintain self-respect, and their skill at extending respect to others, lies at the heart of our work.
Respect is usually used as a noun, as in ‘I want your respect.’ But as Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot states in her book, Respect: An Exploration, respect is most influential and valuable as a verb. Only when respect is energized into specific acts can it make a difference in someone's life. And please don't consider respect a synonym for good manners. To nourish a relationship of mutual regard and understanding, acts of respect must be sincere, heartfelt and well-intentioned. Authentic respect involves far more than superficial manners that children hurriedly spout off by rote just to appease an adult's upraised eyebrow. Insincere 'pleases,' 'thank yous,' and 'I'm sorries' ring hollow."
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this is an excellent article. Respect in all it's flavors is a vital bit of what we are teaching these kids. What we are learning continually and over and over again is one of the prime backbones of being in a space filled with kids all day long.