We Could All Learn a Lesson from These 4-Year-Olds That Start Each Day with a Hug


Early learning informs later learning. That’s one of the fundamental building blocks of sociology, the study of social behavior.

It’s a pretty obvious principle if you think about it. Haven’t you noticed how your current everyday experiences get strained through a compilation of everything that’s happened in your past?

Perhaps that’s why some very ancient wisdom urges us to train up a child in the way he should so that he won’t depart from it in the future. And that’s exactly what enterprising groups of educators are currently trying to do.

According to the Daily Mail, children in The Grove School in Totnes, England, are learning about respect in a very practical way: They’re vacuuming their classrooms.

Administrators at the primary school purchased the cordless vacuums with the explicit goal of improving their charges’ character. It’s a practice modeled after Japanese education.

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Head teacher Hilary Priest wrote, “Your children may talk about the class hoover and being on a [rotation] to use it at the end of each school day (Japanese style). This is to encourage the children to respect their classroom space and tidy up after themselves as well as help Peter our caretaker with his managing to keep on top of a very full building.”

So far it seems to be working. The pupils, who range in age from 4 to 11, have displayed enthusiasm for the task, and their added work has helped the school keep its cleaning budget down.

Indeed, it makes perfect sense to teach such basics of life at as young an age as possible. That’s a fact that even royalty is embracing — in more ways than one.

Us Weekly, reported that Kate Middleton has said that she is striving to give her children as normal of an upbringing as possible. Seems like an odd thing to highlight, doesn’t it?

Perhaps not. Kate got herself into a bit of a hullabaloo when she recently hugged a young fan, which goes against royal protocol. But she explained that physical contact is large part of her parenting.

“Hugs are very important,” she said. “Spending quality time together is such an important aspect of family life, and for me, as a mother, it’s the simple family moments like playing outside together that I cherish.”

An unidentified Pre-K is trying to share much the same message. The Burlington Free Press shared a video that showed the youngsters’ morning routine.

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Every day, one of the students stands beside a play desk. On it lies a sheet which shows different forms of physical affection: a hug, a handshake, a fist bump or a high five.

The other children line up and select which of the four they’d like to receive. And the main student welcomes each one in his preferred manner.

They do the same thing at the day’s end. The schedule rotates so that each child has an opportunity to give and receive affection in his own preferred way.

Just think of the lessons that simple little ritual imparts. Now if only there was a corresponding one for adults!

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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