Every community, whether it be a neighborhood, family, school, etc., has a unique culture with its own language. Schools typically have common phrases, as it is helpful for children to hear consistent messages from the adults around them. Here at SEEC we call the phrases that are unique to our school “SEEC Speak”. We often hear from parents that when their child first uses these phrases at home they’re not sure what they mean, but as one parent said, they soon “just become so much a part of our lives I don’t even remember that they are SEEC speak!” We have detailed some of our most common SEEC Speak phrases below in hopes that they might be useful in your setting, whether it be your home or classroom!
Dip and Flip
Dip and flip is a trick that even the youngest of children can master and allows them to put on their coat independently. To dip and flip, place your coat on the floor in front of you with the hood or collar in front of your feet. Dip your arms into the sleeves and flip the coat over your head.
Walking On Trains
As we travel to our museum and community visits safety is our priority, therefore we stay safe by “walking on trains”. This means that there’s a teacher at the front or engine, with one to two children holding hands on either side of them. There is also a teacher at the end or caboose with one to two children holding hands on either side. There are also trains in between the “teacher trains”. These train cars can be teacher trains with a teacher and children, or “free trains”, meaning children holding hands without a teacher. In our toddler and twos classes, we generally only have teacher trains, and begin to have free trains in our preschool and kindergarten classes.
As you can imagine, sometimes our trains slow down and we need to speed up. A teacher will give this cue to our students by saying “gobble up!”, and the children speed up to connect the train once again. Legend has it that the phrase “gobble up” came from a reference to the video game Pac-Man, meaning to gobble up the space between your train and the next just like Pac-Man gobbles up pellets. Whatever the origin, if you’re with a SEEC class on any given day you’re sure to hear “gobble up”, and many of our parents report using the phrase at home as well.
Hands Up, Bubbles In
While we encourage children to talk on our walks and share observations, we want to ensure they are very focused when crossing streets. To achieve this, we say “hands up, bubbles in”. The “hands up” refers to putting their free hands up high to ensure that cars see them. “Bubbles in” or “catch a bubble” means that it’s time to be quiet and attentive to the teachers. Children pretend to catch a bubble in their mouth and know that the teacher will let them know when it’s time to talk again.
Our Friday Song was brought to SEEC from a teacher who left several years ago, but it can still be heard throughout our school on Fridays. Teachers love it, children love it and it’s a great way to celebrate a Friday.
It’s Friday, it’s Friday, it’s the end of the week, it’s the last day, so ___________ it’s on you, so what’re you gonna do? Go _______, go __________, go ___________, go _____________!
Stop, Drop, Hands Up Top!
This phrase is a new one to SEEC, and was picked up by one of our preschool classes from another school who was visiting the same exhibit as they were. The children love it and it’s a great cue that it’s time to clean up and transition to a new activity.
To see all the SEEC Speak phrases in one video, visit our YouTube page. Keep a look out for another installment of SEEC Speak where we’ll outline the language we use to guide children in their interactions with their peers that help build social emotional skills.