Jot a Little Note..., The How To Dos

What I have learned this year as a preschool teacher…

 

It is often challenged that Play = Learning.  So it came over me this evening (well actually many evenings ago, as I found this draft hidden in my folder and thought this should be published!) that I have learned so much just from listening, observing, and facilitating play and constructivist experiences with the children.  Now, I am not talking about what I have learned about teaching or how I have grown as a teacher or professional.  By Golly!  I have but that is a whole different story.  I mean how I have grown as a human and what I have learned about the world from the eyes and perspective of the children.  It only seems fair to share these moments because the nitty gritty truth is if these are the things I have collected from this year, I can only imagine that they walked away with 10 fold.

What I now know for sure:

  1. If you have tried all avenues of telling a friend that they are scaring you just tell them “get out of town”.  They will be so shocked that they will freeze and walk away or at least stop and listen to what you have to say.  Plus, if you offer a peace offering like, “Well – you could stay if you don’t eat us” most monsters will oblige with not eating or scaring you.
  2. Crayons are made of wax and “wax is like the things you put in your ears to stop the sound”.
  3. “The longer the tail is (on a kite) the better the kite is.  I guess it just picks up and pushes it to go.”
  4. Crayons are too fat for stencils.  If you need to trace something and you only have a crayon use a pipe cleaner to press along the edges of the stencil and create the outline with the shape of the pipe cleaner.
  5. If you make a mistake just flip the paper over and try again.
  6. All humans have families.  “We are humans and I am her brother and she is my sister because all people have a brother or sister so they don’t get lonely when they play, that’s why”.
  7. That you are only a monster if you want to be and if your spikes are in, just take your spikes out if you don’t want to be a monster and you want to be human again.
  8. If you want to hold a new pet or nature creature simply ask, “Can I say hello to him?”
  9. All living things need water because they get thirsty and leaves make good bowls.
  10. When making lemonade the hard work of juicing lemons is easier if you take turns with other playmates and if you sing “twist and turn” repeatedly, until the juice is all out.
  11. Snails are slimy.
  12. (Roaches are) He is brave for letting us hold him (them). (… and you thought it was vice versa).
  13. Gravity is what makes things go down.  Like when honey falls to the bottom of a lemonade jar. (Yes, they used the word gravity.  No I did not tell them what gravity was in a lesson.  Yes I let them talk and share their own ideas, yes and no questions get yes and no answers.  Listening gets you things like “gravity” to enter conversations.)
  14. What I now know about trees is “that they help people breathe by making air from the pollen that falls from the tree”.
  15. That if you want to learn your letters it is ok to trace them except for Os.  Os are for studying.  “If you are working on your Os you are studying them.  I am working on my Os.  I am studying them.  I like to trace my other letters but O is easy if you are studying it.  You just go around and around and around like a circle”.
  16. Wool smells good and it is soft and enjoyable to braid but wrapping treasures with wool or wire is hard.
  17. When you mix blue and red it “almost looks black”.
  18. Shaving cream: makes great “vanilla sundaes”, “smells like soap”, “turns white (even after it has colors mixed in), gets thin “because of the (cake) pipers”, is good for hiding treasures in, is “soft”, and can be put on your face – but “only crazy kids do that”.
  19. If you need a friend, ask: “How can I help you play today?”.
  20. If you like a project that a playmate creates you can say, “An invention, I’m impressed”.
  21. Racetracks are “delicate”.
  22. “All the good things turn pink”.
  23. It is a good feeling when someone includes your opinion.  It is ok to say “Yes!  You remember my idea!”.
  24. You can “unfreeze it with hot water (frozen play-dough) but it will get gooshy when the ice starts breaking”.
  25. A good friend “smells like cupcakes and cookies”.
  26. Chances are if you see a big rock  and trip over it, it is because it was a pebble and “maybe something knocked it over and it grew”.
  27. If you introduce yourself to a friend you should say, “I am (insert name).  I am from a home”.
  28. If you have a pain in your arm it is probably because you miss your pet at home, “my arm is killing me because it wants to pet her, it just misses her so much.”
  29. “Slow down” … I am always a better person and teacher when I listen to the children when they say slow down. The best moments happen when time is given. I am really good at being present in the moment but sometimes I forget to slow down and give the moment time to be born. So the best thing they have ever said to me is to ssssssssssssllllllllllllllllllooooooooowwwwwwwwwww ddddddddddooooooowwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnn …

In honor of 2015 coming and going … there are many more things to learn this year as 2016 begins. May I recommend approaching the world with the eyes and spirit of a child.

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Advocacy, Jot a Little Note...

Table is open now let’s fill the plates…

Eat, Drink, and Breathe … Early Childhood is in my blood. I don’t know why I don’t just consider it a job and decide to find avenues that are more lucrative. It has never been about the money for me, always the cause. I guess the way I look at it is I love what I do, I know I make a difference, and I want my children to have the opportunity to attend places that provide quality care, play, and constructive learning. The truth is that this is becoming harder and harder to find these days. The top down, academic driven world is leaving all of the children behind despite NCLB efforts or non-efforts I would like to say. The main point is I keep trekking on because I know it is the right thing to do… I see it coming, change! But, change comes with a movement and a movement is started by sharing. So on my mission for change I am working towards spending more effort in training and sharing progressive ideas. My first project is sharing some great literacy and garden trainings with other EC people back in my home town. I just feel like I have gained so much by growing up there and finding my way in the EC world that I need to share what I know. I am not an expert, I think I share that a lot. I have great ideas to share that are top notch and I know that there is more out there for me to learn too. Now I can invite people to the table but the fact is that setting the table cost money. I am not in this to fill my pockets but I do need to put food on the table (as the saying goes). Really when I drive for funds the funds are to support the costs of training, to make it possible and to do it the right way – with quality materials. So here is a call out – support would be greatly appreciated. Please check out my link: http://www.gofundme.com/2rvm3k Every bit helps and is greatly appreciated. The perk is that if you are an EC person your donation gets you a seat at the literacy training, if you happen to be in the area at the time (Chautauqua County, August). So check out the link and look for future updates.

Advocacy, Jot a Little Note..., There is No Pro in Progressive, Welcome

Missing in Action

I know, I know!  All of a sudden this blog was on fire and then it seemed to just freeze!  It is called the end of the year race.

human race

First it was the slam of the end of the year and then it was recovery mode.  We do summer programming at my school so one door closed and another opened – suddenly I found myself with no time or energy to post.  Like a mini-episode of teacher burn out!  But there is nothing better to cure teacher burn out then the children doing amazing things – just revives the soul!  So!!!!  I am finally back in the swing of things – always busy but now ready to get back into posting.  Sorry for the hiatus – but back into full swing we go!

For starters catch a few sensory-sational newbies on the sensory-sational tab!  How do you salt?  Yep – check under S for salt and then scroll down to T for Tempera Ice Cubes (not your average adventure because this simple cube is being added to a EC favorite – shaving cream!).  That should keep you recharged for your tables and messy play for a day or two.

Let’s talk about politics!  I know, yes it is not what I want to really talk about but the reality is that as advocates we have to be on the up and up with this.  I am not going to say that I am great on this front but I try to stay a bit in the loop.  Here are a few things to check up on:

Support the Rally for Babies – advocate for early learning initiatives:

http://rally4babies.org/sign-petition/

Follow the public policy world for EC by becoming a children’s champion.  Join the email list to get updates on what is happening with policy, funding, and impacts on the EC community.  Help be a decision maker! – http://www.naeyc.org/policy

Explore Children’s Rights and how to get involved (The links below are related to big picture advocacy efforts but there are many local ways to advocate for children as well – PTA, Board of Ed, Public Policy groups through NAEYC affiliates, and list goes on…)  Check these out and then find your niche:

http://www.coe.int/t/dg3/children/participation/CRC-C-GC-12.pdf

http://www.unicefusa.org/campaigns/public-policy-advocacy/the-convention-on-the-rights.html

Have you heard of TED talks?  I am in love with a few progressive education ones and had to share them:

(Click above!  This guy is spot on and funny!  Plus you have to fall in love with the accent.)

 

Alright, did I give you enough to keep you busy?  Be sure to link up to the Facebook page for mini updates on the blog.  Every once and awhile I post something up there that I do not blog about.  https://www.facebook.com/NoProProgressiveEducation

Until Next Time,

~ Jeanne