In three-year-old preschool, some students go the entire year without knowing their classmates’ names: “That boy has the truck I wanted!” or “She is my friend.”
In a recent small group activity at one of our tables, a girl called a little boy by his name. I noticed immediately because it really is quite rare, and turned to look at the little boy. He had the biggest smile and slowly turned toward me and said, “Mrs. Erika! She knows my name! How does she know my name?” I told him “She knows your name because she is your friend! Her name is Kyla.” He was so surprised and delighted that Kyla had called him by his name – it was precious to see how important that made him feel.
For many students, preschool may be the first experience they have to interact with others in their own small community. Sharing toys, listening while others talk, being a friend, calling someone by their name – these are all important connecting skills we learn and practice in our classroom community. These new experiences with other students help preschoolers begin to better understand this idea of something outside or beyond themselves, that there are others we can care about, learn from, and spend time with. We work all year on helping students know and call each other by their names, because this is an important social skill that makes others feel valued and known.
This sweet interaction so early in the year not only blessed that boy, but me as well. As encouraging as being known by his friend was to him, I have the great privilege as his teacher to share with him that the God of the Universe knows him too, and even knows his name! How precious for all of us to remember that God knows us, loves us, and calls us by name.
Isaiah 43:1 – Now this is what the LORD says– the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel– “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”