OBSERVATIONS · slice of life

Eye Level

In Christine Hertz and Kristi Mraz’s new book, Kids 1st from Day One, the authors invite teachers to examine their classroom by getting down to a child’s eye level. Once teachers can imagine how their classroom looks — from a child’s perspective — they’re able to make modifications to the space based on what they notice.

I thought about how the world appears from a child’s eye level as I chased Ari around a Starbucks we stopped at on our drive back to Pennsylvania. After he ate (in his stroller since they didn’t have any high chairs!), he walked around so he could stretch his legs before we concluded our drive home.

Ari was fascinated by the bags of coffee and potato chips, which were strategically placed in a young child’s line of vision. He said “hi”to the animals on the coffee bags and carried them around the store. While Ari put the bags of coffee and chips back upon request, I needed to tidy up the displays before we hit the road again.

I rarely crouch down to my son’s level when we are out of the house. However, once I did, I learned places like Starbucks have all sorts of interesting things in a child’s field of vision.

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13 thoughts on “Eye Level

  1. I often encourage teachers to put things at eye level for their students, but I rarely get down and see what that looks like. Your post makes me think. Hmmmmm…..

  2. My mind immediately went to my library shelves, looking at them through kindergarten and first grade eyes. Now my thoughts are “What can I do to make them more enticing? How can I put more displays down at their level?” Thanks for the insight this morning!

  3. When my grandsons were younger (Ari’s age), I would do a child’s eye crouch around the rooms, removing “no touch” items. It was revealing. I realized I had way too many knick knacks and got rid of quite a few over the years. As for Starbucks, I never did understand why their displays require me to crouch down for them. Ah, well.

  4. I love this connection to Ari’s perception and thinking of our perceptions on a daily basis. Whether it is literally looking at things from our students points of view… or their perspectives of the events or moments across their day. What a wonderful reminder for us all.

  5. Love the idea of viewing the classroom through the eyes of the children who live there. A great experiment at Starbucks – seeing the store through Ari’s eyes is a different perspective. I am thinking about all the classrooms that post children’s work so high above their heads – isn’t the purpose of posting to share it with everyone – to read and study and maybe even imitate the writing or the style of drawing? Posting student work should be at their eye level. The next time I go to an art museum, I am going to think about this. Or a supermarket. I wonder where the cereals like Cap’n Crunch, Apple Jacks, and Cookie Crisp are placed? I bet it is on the shelf that is eye-level for younger kids – or perhaps little ones who sit inside the shopping cart. Hmmmmmm….

  6. What a brilliant idea for elementary teachers. I often have to look up to students. I’ve taught boys who are 7 feet tall and think about their sight lines. I can see Ari in a children’s book out exploring the town w/ all the photos at his eye-level, and I have an idea for a lesson plan on perception which I teach in my speech classes.

  7. I agree with Michelle, changing perspective always opens my eyes. I love sitting on the floor when I am in first grade classrooms. I think it is so important to look at kids eye to eye – on their level. I especially love when I am on the floor and a child comes over and towers over me and I have to look up at them! Thanks for sharing!

  8. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? I have that book sitting next to me, and I started it a bit this afternoon. I’ll have more time to dig in later and I know I’ll love it. You’re so good at thinking about his perspective on life.

  9. This is such a genuine slice! I have never thought about what it looks like from my kids’ level. What a great suggestion. Doesn’t the world seem so exciting when we are on their level. When I’m feeling a bit stressed or even down, I might just crouch to the ground to escape to “adventure level.”

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