sometimes we wish they could just take a pill…..
take 2 an hour before bedtime and wake up able to listen and follow directions
chew one of these along with your milk in the morning and your ideas will bound across the page complete with spaces between words and capitals and periods in every sentence
split one of these and let it dissolve on your tongue and the answers to math problems will just flow off the end of your pencil
squeeze this and inhale and no one will bully you on the playground – and you won’t be tempted either
We have an old computer keyboard in the dramatic play center of my preschool classroom. Today one of my students sat diligently typing on it. Then he paused at one point and was heard to say, “Darn it. I’ll never be able to afford that!”
I could probably write volumes about the things I would do if I was in charge of the world. One thing I would pay attention to is how to structure school to provide a better balance of time in and time out. For some reason, this winter break at Christmas seemed to be better timed this year. We worked until the 19th – it would have been the 20th but we ended up with a snow day – and then didn’t come back to school until January 6th. Having more time after the big hoopla of family gatherings was better for me and I noticed my students seemed more relaxed on returning to school. I think it was better for them too.
Like Maureen, I wanted a “soft landing” return to school as well.
We had lots of creative and sensory fun this week
and finished it off with all the stuff that was supposed to happen on the last day before break: cocoa in the cafeteria with older classmates and a Barbershop quartet.
We were given the assignment in October – actually I was in on the giving of the assignment – because I work with one of the administrators in our district to plan the PLC for the preschool staff.
The assignment was to video up to 10 minutes of ourselves working with our kids and share it with colleagues at the next PLC. I was the collector of the video – that was a learning project all by itself. Each staff member had to figure out the best techy tool to use and together we had to learn how to load it to a common place for viewing. There were lots of options and each of the 5 classrooms ended up with a different path to success.
Today was the day to watch and talk about what we saw. It was a day of vulnerability but also celebration.
We are doing some amazing work with children at risk.
He wakes in his mama’s bed, curled up in the white comforter that is like a cloud, surely sleeping in a cloud would be just like this. Mama is still asleep. He lays his head over the side of the bed and tucking his neck he does a perfect somersault onto the floor and sitting up, scoots on his bum to the door. “We don’t wake mommy when she’s sleeping” he says to himself and when he gets to the hall he jumps up to run in his booty pajamas to the comfy chair room. Nana is there. Nana is always there, sometimes asleep in her comfy chair. What will she make for breakfast this morning? mmmm, pancakes would be good. He takes a spatula from the drawer and climbs up into Nana’s lap, putting his fingers gently on her cheeks. “Nana. Wake up, it’s me. I didn’t wake mama. Not one tiny bit. Let’s make breakfast, Nana.” Nana sighed. 6 am, the child sure knows how to wind the world up early.
She is awake at 2 in the morning, again. Although she fell into bed last night at 9 without even a glance at her book. Off went the light and she slipped beneath the covers like an orca into the depths of the ocean. She slept so soundly those first few hours, not hearing the dog being let out for the last time, or her husband brushing his teeth, or the click of the bathroom door when he made his way to the other side of the bed. She was lost to the world and in a cloud so thick not even her dreams floated free. Until 2 am. Then her mind was rested enough to flick back on again, and begin to churn through the week, evaluating every step and misstep. Still spinning, it teetered towards the next week. “And what shall I try this week to keep all those little worlds on their axes?”
What does it take to have a perfect first day – I think I know: necessary people. There are the parents who show up for orientation, interpreters who come eager to communicate, children who brave a barrage of shepherding by adults they don’t know in a stimulating environment at once tantalizing and overwhelming.
What does it take to have a perfect first day – I think I know: small details. So many materials need to be created and made ready before this one day. I punched and cut 17 stars and labeled them to be the children’s nametags, I made 5 sets of name cards for all the ways the children participate in the room – their jobs, their work places at the table, some with magnets for posting on our question board. Toothbrushes are labeled and racked, a template for creating a family portrait was copied and put with the crayons. I cooked a fresh batch of playdough, poured soapy water in the sensory table and hung aprons close by. I looked through the closets and chose toys for play suitable for the youngest and the oldest attending.
What does it take to have a perfect first day – I think I know: a master plan. There are high expectations for our first day. The parents need to be walked through the parent manual and receive training for pedestrian and bus safety. The children are expected to attend breakfast, learn how to wash their hands and brush their teeth at school. We have to walk through the halls, try not to get locked out of the building or get separated from our class as we move from playground to classroom. I revised my lesson plan at least 5 times, trying to efficiently get it all on one page. I sat down with my aide to explain “the big idea” for the week and the tiny objectives planned within each activity.
What does it take to have a perfect first day – I think I know: patience and attention to a child’s rhythm. A first day has so many pieces to it but in order for it to be successful for a child, it needs to move at a child’s pace, attending to wonder and joy. I am always willing to scrap it all but it feels good when the day meets my needs as well as the children’s.
I think today was that kind of day.