Congressional School Blog

I've Got the Power

By: Mirella Gaines, Preschool Teacher

By using the magic words “I’ve got the power!” I am empowering children to take responsibility for their actions and feel in charge of their world. These words help to enforce our classroom guidelines, three of which are “Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Honest.” It is amazing to me to see how young students understand the meaning of each of these phrases. These phrases might be “grown up concepts,” but with consistency and by demonstrating the meaning through my own actions, these words make a big difference in each child’s world.

Ive Got the Power - Mirella


One huge obstacle for children at the preschool age can be ‘honesty’ and how it impacts their character. It isn’t always easy for a child to tell the truth when a wrong choice is made. Sometimes it is easier to put the blame on others or deny they did something wrong. I encourage them to be honest and be accountable for their actions. I let them know that no matter what, I love them and that will never ever change. It is important for them to know that when they make a wrong choice, they are still amazing kids, and it is the choice that they need to work on. At first they will choose to whisper in my ear to let me know what they have done. As time passes by, they become more comfortable speaking up. I am always amazed how they respond to this. Recently I had a proud moment when a student raised his hand and said: “Ms. Gaines, I made a wrong choice in P.E. I chose not to listen. I will fix it.” My response was: “I am proud of you for owning it, for being honest, responsible for your actions, and have a solution.” I asked the rest of the class to give him two thumbs up.

Kindness is one of our core values at Congressional School. I have a Kind Jar in the classroom. A marble is added every time a kind action is made or a kind word is said. I love hearing when a student points out a kind action. Acknowledgment of another’s kind gesture is encouraged in my class. These marbles are earned throughout the day and are for those amazing choices they make, going the extra mile. When the jar is full, we have a celebration. I remind them that this is something they are earning with hard work and dedication; it is not something we, their teachers, are giving them. It is important to emphasize that they are doing this together as a team and that they are working together towards a wonderful goal!

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A lot of frustrations can occur with so many responsibilities. When students feel frustrated or they are not able to solve a problem, I ask, “May I make a suggestion?” By asking them and not telling them, they are still in control of the situation; they may agree or disagree with my suggestion. This form of dialogue allows for independence and success. Even with my suggestion; they are still responsible for solving the problem. It is a way of helping without them feeling a loss of control.

Imagination and creativity are essential in our classroom. When students feel frustrated, they can use the classroom broom and sweep away their frustrations out the door. Other times if they are upset, they can flush the anger down the toilet. After they do these things, they feel a release and I always get smiles. If two friends have disagreements and are unable to solve the issue, I listen to each of them and then I introduce them to each other as if for the very first time. They shake hands and I love that they always give each other a hug. If a toy is causing problems, I suggest that it may need a “break” and I will be happy to help. I remind them the toy does not have feelings; they do. Usually I get the response, “I think it will be ok to stay with us.”


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As an educator, reminding yourself about the definition of the word ‘impact’ is important. You remember that being flexible is a must. Every moment of everyday influences the lives of those in your class. Planning each day is important; however, having the flexibility to let go when you need to is a skill every teacher struggles with. Lessons might not go exactly as planned, and some projects may take longer to finish, but when my students make kind choices and use their power wisely, it is a very successful day. When children feel successful and they are in charge of their choices, they feel they are responsible for their world and problem solving. They are not only leaders in my classroom but they are also teachers. They can lead and teach one another through their actions. Using the phrases and questions, “Let’s be proactive,” “I am responsible,” “I feel,” “No procrastination,” “loud and proud,” “I acknowledge,”“I’ve got this,” “What should I do next?” “I will try,” and “Being accountable” enriches my students’ vocabulary and teaches them the power and impact of words and actions.

Kindness and being respectful to one another is essential for our children to become successful adults in this fast-paced world. Next time you hear one of my students saying “I’ve got the power!” know that they are absolutely right!



Mirella Gaines




Mirella Gaines

Preschool Teacher

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