g is for golden letter paintings

first week of preschool

we did “golden letter” paintings on everyone’s first day of school.  this is the whole “masking tape on posterboard in the shape of their first initials, then painting on top of it, then peeling off the tape.”

first week of preschool

however, there was so much paint on these that before we pulled the tape off we put another piece of paper to make a print of it (and get some extra paint off).  once dry, we had 43 pieces of randomly painted paper to use eric carle style at some other time!  goodness, i prefer that to construction paper!

About these ads

f is for first week of preschool

first week of preschool

i have a pandora one subscription which allows us to listen to music without commercials.  yes!  most days we listen to the “children’s folk music” station.  when i was about to go up to open the door on the very first day of school, this song was on.  i got a little teary for these sweet families:  welcome to this world, whether you’re ready or not! welcome to this world, come, give it all that you got! welcome to this world, before you know it you’ll be singing right back to me, welcome to this world.

ahhh, yes.

first week of preschool

there was a lot of getting to know the room through exploration and play.

first week of preschool

we had some time to brainstorm “what to do if someone is being mean to you.”

first week of preschoolfirst week of preschool

there was spontaneous dam building using project table supplies in the water table.

first week of preschoolfirst week of preschool

there was liquid watercolor painting.

first week of preschoolfirst week of preschool

there was car lining up on our tape strips (this year i’m trying the technique of matching chairs to table in hopes that it helps with our preschool–>sunday school–>church meals transitions).

first week of preschool

meeting new groupings of 43 children was a gift.  getting to know each other is an honor.

first week of preschool

welcome to this preschool world!

f is for first friday fun

because i’m waiting on a new battery for my camera and to figure out some funky iphoto glitch, all my photos are stranded on my camera. but thanks to spencer’s mama, we have some pictures of circle time on the first friday of the school year!

first friday fun

we had some name writing, some birthday celebrating and lots of general “getting to know you” time as a new school family.

first friday fun

we don’t have photos of the preschoolers yet to use with name tags as they arrive, so i’ve been writing names as we sit around the circle (and i take this opportunity to throw in a little clock-wise and counter-clock-wise talk).  if you are a current family, ask your preschooler what i draw if a preschooler isn’t at school that day.

first friday fun

the birthday chair is up and running.  we use it at circle time for the birthday child and then it is available all day for play.  this might be children taking turns in it or some lucky teddy bear.  this day it was “big baby” who took a trip out of his cradle to get a ride…i think there is a picture stranded on my camera.  i hope!

sweet babies.  this class of 13 has 7 children in it who have older siblings in kindergarten this year.  this means that all of a sudden they are on their own here!  no big brother or sister!  tender stuff.  there is a saying in response to a mess left behind or a jacket on the floor that is something like, “i’m not your mother, clean up your mess…i’m not your mother, hang up your jacket….i’m not your mother, remember to bring back your homework…”  well, at preschool i actually say that we teachers ARE like your mothers and fathers.  we ARE the ones who take care of you like that.  so, while i get the intent of the former phrases, especially when trying to teach responsibility, i just think of these little ones needing to be parented while away from home.

first friday fun

again, i recognize that this may be a case of semantics…but, words are words.

c is for classroom…ready again

ready room

some things the same, some things new.

ready room

some things rearranged, some things stayed put.

ready room

ready room

new thrift shop treasures and washed blankets.

ready room

ready room

sorted toys and wiped shelves.

ready room

ready room

mirrors moved and babies dressed.

ready room

ready room

rainbows spread around and hooray!!! the floors cleaned!  they shine even when dry!

ready room

(to clean these floors meant that we had open house, then moved every single piece of furniture and equipment to back rooms, then moved it all back a few days later.  thank you to our wonderful church and preschool community to get it done!)

ready room

and now the room has been graced by every 2012-2013 child.  blessed be!

top 5 teaching beliefs

i heard the end of a segment on public radio today focusing on how a teacher’s beliefs and expectations affect children…i will go listen to the whole thing at some point, but with even hearing a few moments, i was moved to consider my beliefs as a teacher. i sat in the fix-it shop waiting for my tire to be repaired and scribbled my thoughts ( so forgive their randomness…imagine me on a glittery rainbow colored soap box, if you will)…

:: :: :: ::

1.  all behaviors are in response or reaction to something.

it is my job to try and figure that out.  it is my job to honor that fear or pain.  it is my job to care for the underlying issue.  they aren’t just trying to “push my buttons” or “make me mad” or “be naughty” or “test my patience.”  they are simply responding or reacting to something and i may never know what it is.  that shouldn’t stop me from assuming they are hurting or scared.

2.  my day should not be determined by how the children behave, but by how i respond to them.

if no one comes to circle time easily, if there is block throwing and hair pulling, if there is yelling and running away from me, if the project flops and no one wants it, if children say they are bored, if they are scared and homesick and crying….how i respond to each of those things is what matters.  it is not a child’s job to “give me an easy day.”  it isn’t my job to take a martyr position when it’s been rough.  there have been many days when in processing with my classroom assistants i’ve said, “well, it might not be better next time, but it will at least be different.”  as soon as things are going in an undesirable way, with squinted eyes and determination, i am scheming a plan for next time.

3.  every single move i make and every utterance from my mouth counts.

if my eyebrows are furrowed, if my back is turned, if i suggest conditional love, if i delay assistance, if i answer the phone, if i hurry someone…even the things that don’t seem like a big deal….if a child’s spirit isn’t bolstered by my actions, i don’t want to do them.  how i look at them when they arrive, when i choose to avoid eye contact because they seem to feel vulnerable, when i dance around the topic to get a read on how they’re feeling…it all counts.

4.  it is my job to bend over backwards for them.

one day there was a child known to hit and yell at others if they even came within 2 feet of her.  she was at the play-dough table working constructively and choosing to be alone.  i see another child approaching the table.  i could have said, “remember _____, you have to share the play-dough and tools with him” or “_______, if you want to stay at the play dough table, no hitting or yelling” or “remember to be nice.”  none of those things are wrong to say, but i’m guessing this could have set her up, maybe thinking i already called her out for not sharing or being nice.  maybe choosing to then really giving me something to watch.  maybe thinking she was already in trouble, so what’s the point.  it might  also suggest to the approaching child that i am not confident in his safety.  so instead i say, “hey _________, _________ is coming over to the play-dough table so can you show him which tools and play-dough he should use?”  smiles, power and constructive interactions prevailed. 

i don’t see this as “coddling” or “enabling.”  i see this as setting them both up to succeed. i see this as her knowing i believe in her ability to be helpful in the classroom. in that moment i don’t remind her of past offenses.  but i remember them and work like crazy to avoid another one.  her slate is clean, it is mine that is full of the memories of what has happened.  it’s my job to try to change the next interaction.

5.  just be nice.

with my heart tightening and brain buzzing a bit, i remember hearing adults who were judgmental, critical, guilt pushing and power hungry. with a deep breath and warm belly, i remember hearing the adults who were, plain and simple:  nice.  i want to just be nice to kids.  assume the best in them,  assume their “misbehavior” is out of fear or pain, assume that i can make a difference, assume that i’ll never be thanked, assume i’ll never see the fruits of my labor, keep my eyebrows raised, hold them accountable, set the stage, remind them of rules, stay in charge, jump a step ahead of them when i have to and just be nice.
:: :: :: ::

(and now, if i could only find it as easy to do this in my parenting and my marriage….but that’s a whole other set of thoughts.)

9/11 for preschoolers

i won’t bring it up.  i won’t offer my memories.  i will help count out the number of days on the calendar.  i will say it is “september 11, 2012″ and i will remember what it was like to be 7 months pregnant in that exact classroom 11 years ago.  then we will paint.  with every color available in paint and all colors that could possibly be mixed.  we’ll use brushes and we’ll use hands.  we’ll listen to music and celebrate the freedom of childhood that is captured in our classroom.

then we’ll stick this little note on each painting…a gift for families:

“while we didn’t discuss the events of september 11, 2001, we talked about
the ways we can be kind, the ways we can solve conflict, the ways we can
change the world to be a better place. you adults who are reading this note
likely remember the moments of 9/11/01. may the colors created by a child’s
own two hands give you hope and reassurance of the goodness that is.”
:: :: :: ::
printable available: