Skip To Main Content
Reflections on Teaching Pre-Kindergarten and Observing Sheep 
  • Community
  • Formation
  • Prayer
Mandi Atweh

Every spring semester, I have my Pre-Kindergarten students embark upon the challenge of memorizing the twenty-third Psalm. While it is a beautiful passage for the students to memorize for its own sake, it is also a particularly relevant passage to our class since we get the opportunity to partake in shepherding our own sheep at The Saint Constantine School.  

It is this concept of sheep and shepherding that I have recently been dwelling upon. In my class, we have some rules about where students are and are not allowed to go when playing outdoors. When watching a group of very young students on a seven-acre campus, such boundaries are necessary. However, throughout the course of the year, students will inevitably end up wandering off and having to be brought back to the appropriate area, and in some cases a consequence may be necessary.  

It is in these moments that I may find myself contemplating the paradox of rules being required in order to allow for true freedom: I did not create these rules in order to hinder my students’ enjoyment, but rather, in order to free them to fully explore and enjoy the area they are in, without having to deal with the fears of being lost or getting hurt. 

Yet how often have I, like these small children, demonstrated these same behaviors? Although God, in His graciousness, has set clear boundaries for me to follow, I still find myself doubting His goodness and wandering off to see if what He says is actually true. Then, when dealing with the consequences of my actions, I am reminded once again that His laws are indeed for my good and protection, not my restraint. “All we like sheep have gone astray…” (Isaiah 53:6).  

As I sigh and regather my missing students, helping them handle the consequences of their behavior, I smile at the reminder of knowing that the Good Shepherd is also watching over and caring for me (and probably sighing at me) much in the same way. This reminder of God’s graciousness, despite my own imperfections, helps me administer grace towards my students.  


Psalm 23  

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  
He makes me lie down in green pastures.  
He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul.  
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for You are with me; 
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, 
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.