Thursday, October 8, 2009
Teaching four and five year olds is challenging. You have a group of children that run the gamut of cognitive, social and behavioral ideals and you need to meet each of their needs, validate their thoughts and fears and connect to build a loving and nurturing relationship in which the child will feel valued and respected. As you build these relationships and want to help the child progress to the next step developmentally there are often roadblocks in the path. These roadblocks may be as simple as a parent who does not support you because it means that they have to face that their baby is growing up. It might also mean learning that a child is challenged in some area of development and that getting help is your first course of action. You work hard every day and you grow in love and affection for these children. Their triumphs are your triumphs and their frustrations are your frustrations. Teaching early childhood is not like any other job. You can't do it for the paycheck because that is almost nonexistant, you can't do it for the accolades because those are few and far between. You do it because when you look into a child's eyes and you have a connection with that child then you want everything that is best in this world for him. You want them to experience the world in a safe place where they can learn that making mistakes is part of learning and it's ok to mess up! You do it because your heart says if you don't do it then who is going to? Who is going to care? Who is going to take the time? Who is going to give the hugs, wipe the tears and applaud the accomplishments. The answer is always "I will! because I care".
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
It's funny that as you grow older you can look back at your younger self with awe and a little longing for simpler times. I was thinking about this as I prepared watercolors for my class of Prekindergarteners a couple weeks ago. Each time I lift a set of watercolors it takes me back to my first experience with them. I was about to start kindergarten and my mom had bought my first school supplies. I was so excited. One of the items was a long, shiny, black tin of watercolors. I sat on my bed and explored the tin. The way it felt in my hand, the smell of the paint, the gorgeous, bright colors of the paints and the letters on the tin (that I couldn't read). My mom had written my name on it and even her handwriting was a miracle in my little hand. My name was beautiful. I was happy. It really makes me think about the fact that children are experiencing so many things for the first time when they are with me. Whether it's their first time painting with watercolors, tasting a pomegranate or hearing a brand new story that I've read 100 times before. These new experiences in the life of a child happen every day and I know that I've had to step back and ask myself if I'm giving each child the best opportunity to explore and expand their knowledge of the world. After all, that's my job and I want them to look at the world with the same wonder and happiness that my watercolors brought to me.