Kindergarten Puzzles and Leadership

Today I watched one of the most captivating things.  I watched a group of kindergarten students put  puzzle together.  

The room buzzed around them as they walked over to a 48 piece dinosaur floor puzzle.  Each piece was about the size of my hand, covered with bright colours.  The way the children worked was amazing.  At first, the students made larger puzzle chunks out of two or three pieces of the puzzle.  As time went on and chunks became more numerous, I waited to see what would happen.

One boy sat off in the distance and watched with me.  He was quiet.  At first I thought that he was just like me, watching the others think and work.  There was this amazing flow and and use of non-verbal communication.

I was wrong.

All of a sudden he moved in and took a few large chunks and slid them close to one another. He stared at them for a quick second, then connected the chunks to make a larger group.  Then he backed away and kept watching.

The first time he did it I was impressed.  The second time he did it I was really impressed.  The third time I was speechless.  The fourth time I was in awe.

When the puzzle was complete, I asked him “do you do a lot of puzzles at home?” He said “I have no puzzles at home.”

I asked him how he was able to figure out what chunks went together.  He smiled and said, "I don’t know.  I just really look at them… and I’m smart.”

At the time I giggled, but I’ve been thinking about this boy and his words since this afternoon.  The boy made me think of what I value in my leaders.

  1. They let me work.
  2. They keep an eye on me and help me make critical connections that I might not see.
  3. They’re smart.

I know that none of these are deep revelations, but I think they might be worth celebrating… especially in our non-traditional leaders. Colleagues, students, non-educators.  I’m thinking about all of the people that fit this description for me, and I think that I have a list of people longer than Santa’s to thank.


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