Tag Archives: preschool

queen

Standard

I was sitting in class one day last week taking some notes when one of my little girls said, “Ms. Elliot, are you a princess?”

I smiled, “No, sweetheart, I’m not.”  I looked up at her.  She frowned and seemed a little deflated.

“Oh.”  she said.  Then added quickly, “Why aren’t you a princess?”

“Why am I not a princess?”  I repeated, trying to buy a few seconds of time to give her an answer that would make her happier then my last.  “Well, I can’t be a princess because I’m a queen!”  I smiled.

She clapped her hands together and smiled.  “Oh wow, cool!”  And then ran off to play with her friends.

Some conversations are just to precious to forget.

Advertisements

treasures

Standard

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how great water beads are for the sensory and light tables and how much kids love them!  So, I wanted to give them a try in my classroom.  They sure looked awesome on all the blogs I saw them on and I knew my kids would love them!  So, after reading that people were able to find them at the Dollar Tree (what teacher doesn’t love the dollar store?) I went to find some!

I was a little bummed that all my store had was clear water beads.  But I bought them just the same (6 jars to be exact, all they had left).  To add some color I found some plastic jewels in the craft section in various sizes and colors…I bought a pack of each color.  So, today my kids got to play with the water beads for the first time!

I don’t have a sensory table, so I use an under the bed storage container, big enough for 2 kids to comfortably play together at a time.  I would have loved to put the container on the light table, but I don’t have one of those either, so we made due.  I put in some scoops and bowls and let them explore. 

It was love at first touch!  Haha!  They love just running their hands through them and exploring the texture.  Then they start to scoop and and pick them up, and drop them watching them bounce off one another.  Then some kids start to sort the plastic jewels (their “treasures”).  So much going on in one simple activity.

Other kids gather around the table to watch and wait their turn.  They are very patient.  They stand quietly.  The children talk about how it feels and what they observe.  They point out the sizes and colors of the jewels (and some even point out the different shades of the color families).  Some notice how the beads are so clear they can see their fingers through them.  And the jewels.  They call them marbles or bubbles.  They laugh.  They tell me they like them.  And I watch.  I ask questions.  I make sure water beads don’t get popped or eaten.  But mostly I just enjoy their reactions to this new sensory world.

surprises

Standard

I enjoy sitting back and watching what my kids do.  I think that’s one of the great things about teaching.  When things are going smoothly and no one need help, we can have a few minutes to sit back and watch.  To see what they’ll do next.  And many times, we can be surprised by the way these little people think and act.

Today we were playing on the playground, as normal.  They were all engaged in some sort of monster game…running around and screaming.  I was standing back watching, occasionally reminding one or other of my boys to keep their hands to themselves and not push or pull people down.

Then suddenly they all got the idea to lay down and look at the clouds.  At first the comments were, “Look how fluffy they are!” and “Wow, those are big!”  Eventually the comments changed to things like, “Look, there’s a pirate ship!”  and “Yeah, it’s chasing after a sea monster!”

I was very surprised, and delighted, to hear them taking turns pointing out cloud pictures and weaving it all into a collaborative story.  It was quite possibly the most awesome thing to happen all day.  And all unprovoked .  All on their own.  This is the first class I’ve ever had do something like this.  Despite all of our difficult moments, all of our ups and downs, this class still holds a lot of pleasant surprises.  🙂

anything you want

Standard

some of our creations displayed with easel paintings

I’ve been sick for almost 2 weeks now…but I feel almost human again!  Last week I opened our Creation Station.  This is basically a totally free art center with a variety of materials for them to use.  I always wait until after Christmas to open this area because most of the children I get at the beginning of the year have not idea how to use basic materials such as scissors, glue, markers, hold punches, etc.  So the beginning of the year is spent learning how to use and manipulate various art tools before I just let them at it!

My kids weren’t sure what to do…which is normal…and somewhat amusing.  “What do you want me to do?”  “What should I make?”  “What can I use?”  And so on.  My answer is always the same, “Anything you want.”  And with that, they’re off.

Some of my kids can spend close to an hour just cutting and gluing…sometimes even throwing it away when they’re done.  Which always makes me wonder…as rare as it is.  Some spend only a few minutes making their creation…and are insanely proud.  But either way, I see their concentration and their joy in the process.  And it makes it more then worth it…and they’ve asked for it everyday since.  🙂

when i grow up

Standard

I was out on the playground with some of our Kindergarteners one afternoon this week when one of the boys ran up to me and asked, “Ms. Eliot, when you’re done here and all grown up what do you want to be?”

I couldn’t help but smile, it was so darn cute!

“You mean, when I don’t work here anymore, what do I want to be doing?”

“Yeah.” he said.

“Well, one day I want to open my own school.”  I pointed towards the office.  “And so I guess I’d have the same job as Ms. Lezze-Faire.  But I still want to spend lots of time with kids like you!”

He smiled and hugged me.  “Okay, cool!”  Then ran off to play.

In these very busy days of the new year, it’s really the little moments that matter the most.  🙂

i love you too

Standard

Today was my first day back.  We’re open year round but I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks.  It was nice to be back…but not nice getting up before the sun…and I’m exhausted now.  It’s always hard for me to come back after a vacation, I always feel like I have to reteach my kids the basics.  Because, you know, no one does thing just the way you do…and the kids always seem to “forget” the basics.

But I can pleasantly report that today went surprisingly smooth!  I mean, I had to remind them how to walk in a quiet line, use their table manners, and how to sit quietly at circle time…but other then that I can say there weren’t any issues!  I breathed a sigh of relief!

Here was my best part of the day:  We were playing on the playground this morning when out of the corner of my eye I see a little girl from my class walk into the office with her mom.  A glass door leads from the office onto the playground.  She spotted me on the playground, and I could see her start jumping up and down while screaming something at her mom and pointing to me.  She started running back and forth from the door to her mom (her mother was signing her in) and then as soon as her mom opened the door she ran, as fast as her legs could carry her, straight to me screaming, “You’re back!”  She then gave me a huge hug and said, “I missed you!”  She ran back to her mom, gave her a hug, told her bye, and then came back to me and hugged me again saying, “I love you!”

“I love you too, honey.”  I said.  And this is why my job is so great.

vibe

Standard

A co-worker and I got into a mini-debate awhile ago.  It started when she asked if I wanted a shelf for my room.  I told her that although I appreciated the offer, it didn’t really match the colors in my room.  She then said, “Yeah, I know, but I just thought it would make your room less….I don’t know….boring.”  So then I said, “What do you mean by ‘boring’?”  So she explained that she felt my room didn’t have a vibrant, carefree vibe…it felt boring to her.  And I thought, “Huh, okay…to each his own I guess…”  I then explained to her the reason my room is the way it is and in the end we agreed to disagree.  Here’s the scoop:

I have made a conscious decision in my classroom to create a very calming, neutral color scheme.  Looking around my room you see a lot of blue and green (in various shades) with some splashes of purple and grey.  There are also tan and brown shades…mostly though natural wood or basket materials.    My main area rug has a splash of bright color as do the bulletin board boarders and my word wall alphabet.  The only other major splashes of bright color are the children’s work which is hung all over the room. I feel the color scheme is very earthy and natural and it helps me focus on the kids and what needs to get done.   

I know how much energy young children have…how they find it hard to sit still and use inside voices.  I also have read various articles about how color affects mood and behavior.  So when I got my current classroom I wanted to set up a blank canvas of sorts for a couple different reasons:  1) to subliminally encourage the children to behave a bit calmer and 2) to use the room as a backdrop to display all the children’s work.  My room isn’t quiet or still…there is always noise and activity…but it’s not chaos and wildness…they are focused on what they are doing.  And their work does tend to pop against the color scheme.

I have nothing against a room full of primary colors.  I also don’t think that teachers who have very colorful rooms have children who are wild and out of control.  I have seen many pre-k classrooms that are lovely and full of color everywhere you look with shelves, rugs, walls, toy bins, doors, and tables all various colors!  And in these rooms I’ve seen children behaving the same way they do in  mine.  And if that’s what suits you…great.  It’s just not me…too over-stimulating.

As far as neutral vs. color goes…I have seen (both online and in person) rooms that, for me, hit a good balance.  One that comes to mind that I like the best is the Teach Preschool Children’s Studio.  There is a lot of neutral in the space (walls, floors, cupboards, and most shelves) with bright pops of color all about (rugs, chairs, and some furniture).  I really like this space and I could see sending my child here or working here myself without being overwhelmed.

In the end each teacher has to do what feels right for them.  When I walk into my class each day I feel calm and relaxed…and I hope my kids do too.  It’s our home away from home…and I want us all to be comfortable and happy together.  So far, I think we are.