When it comes time for parent observations in a few weeks, I promise that you will be delighted with all of the work that you will see the children do. You might even have the urge to say “good job” to a child as you see them finishing their work. You may notice that the adults in the room do not say the phrase “good job." Phrases like this can cast judgement on a child’s work. The children are choosing meaningful work for themselves. They aren’t working for our praise. They are working for themselves! We take away what belongs to them when we label something “good” or “bad”. The child may then begin to do the work to satisfy the adult rather than what he needs to satisfy his own needs.
One thing that we do say instead is “You did it." This very simple phrase allows a child to look at his work and feel his own pride in what he has accomplished. He can then take this feeling and work towards something bigger the next time! It’s not so easy as parents and caregivers to resist the urges to constantly praise our children, but we need to pause for a second to decide the best way to show them how proud we really are.