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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 1 From Reflection to Action Looking Closely, Thinking Clearly, Intervening Effectively It’s a Monday afternoon in early November. A group of teachers, many with some much-needed coffee in hand, settle into their chairs as they prepare to begin one of their program’s lead teacher “drop-ins.” These monthly groups carve out time for the head teachers of a large preschool program to seek advice from each other, get support, and think about new ways of approaching their work when things in their classrooms aren’t going as well as they’d like. Often, they end up seeking help in regard to children they’re finding particularly challenging. As the program’s early childhood consultant, I’m in the room too, sipping my own cup of coffee. We all exchange greetings, grumbling good-naturedly about the fact that the season’s first snow is forecast for later in the week. Then Julia, the lead teacher of a prekindergarten classroom, asks whether she can start us off. The group willingly agrees: she’s one of the program’s most admired teachers and is more likely to offer help than request it. Her colleagues know she must be feeling on shaky ground if she’s asking to take the floor. With a nod of thanks, Julia begins to speak. “I really need to talk about Gabrielle. Things are getting worse. Well, not totally. She’s not bolting out of the classroom like she was, and that’s a huge relief. But she keeps grabbing the toys kids are using during free play or shoving their arms away if she wants something they’re reaching for. And she’s constantly telling them what to do and what not to do. So even though they know Gabby has fun ideas, most of the children won’t play with her anymore. When they leave her alone, she does okay. She’s a terrific artist. She loves the dramatic play corner, too. If she’s there by herself, she’ll pretend to be a mom, and you can hear her telling these long stories about what her doll babies need and how she’s help- ing them. But we can’t ask the other kids not to share the area with her, and then things fall apart immediately. “It doesn’t get any better either. Gabby roams around the classroom during cleanup—it’s almost impossible to get her to help out. And now she’s starting to push back big time about coming to circle at all. Even if we can get her there, she probably sits for less than a minute or two most days before she starts cruising the room and creating a big distraction. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 3