As many of you know, Alisha had knee surgery over the winter break following a volleyball injury that happened this fall. Alisha is back at school although she is still very much healing. She has tools to help her- a crutch (or crotch, or critch, or grinch, depending on which student you ask), she has ice packs, medicine, and has been using a pillow to rest and prop her leg when possible. Even though Alisha has these helpful tools- being at a school full of energetic and unpredictable young children can be scary! It feels a bit like a game of dodgeball when you have an injury at a preschool, and while the other teachers are here to help Alisha catch the balls flying at her, we need the children’s help too.
We asked the kids how they thought they could help take care of Alisha. They offered that they could put her shoes on for her, help her up the stairs, and give her hugs. While all of these things mean so well, we explained that sometimes the way you can help someone the most is by actually giving them space. This can be so hard when you want to help! Alisha wants to put her shoes on by herself because it can hurt if her leg is pushed. Alisha needs to go up the stairs by herself so that she doesn’t worry about tripping on anyone. Alisha will also welcome hugs as long as people are cautious of her leg while climbing on her body. What Alisha needs most, we explained, is space. Space to not worry about tripping and falling on her hurt leg, and space to not worry about being bumped too hard.
So the children said they could bring Alisha her shoes, and make sure books and materials are not on the floor. They could bring her her crutch and let her have the stairs to herself when she needs them. They are trying so hard to remember not to lean on her leg that is just sticking out there on a nice pillow like an invitation to snuggle with. Taking care of each other is an important life lesson, but everyone needs different things and every injury is different. They are so used to ‘checking-in’ with people who are injured or sad and offering and ice pack, or hug, or bandage. Sometimes we just need time, rest, and space.