Practicing kindness

 

I have been thinking about a good subject for this blog for quite a while now. After observing the children in my care over several weeks, I noticed all the acts of kindness they showed not only each other but also the adults in their lives.

 

I wanted a good photo to go with my story, which further delayed my blog entry. I love photography but I love interacting with the children more. To me, taking pictures removes me from the dialogue and instead of being an active participant I become a bystander, a recorder of fleeting history, an important job for someone but not my first priority.
Although knowing better, I waited for my perfect photo opportunity, which of course never came. I found myself with even more time to think about the topic of kindness, and I came to this conclusion:

Kindness comes to children naturally, but it has to be practiced to last a life time, even into adulthood and until the day we die.

Children take words at face value. When words and actions do not correspond, children do what you do and not what you tell them to do.

It is a very important part we adults play as role models not only for our own children but for children everywhere. A child learns by observing and then copying, over and over again.

We adults need to keep that in mind in our daily lives. Children are always listening and watching us. This is how children are made. It is pretty ingenious really, as long as we adults remember our roles of being kind ourselves, and not just towards children but towards other adults as well.

Having worked with 2 and 3-year-olds for over 15 years I have come to understanding that these young children have taught me so much more about life and about myself than I could ever have imagined! If I can be kind like a 2 or 3-year-old child, honestly and wholeheartedly, I am doing well.

Kindness is a work in progress, let’s keep on practicing.

– Miss Maria, lead teacher for the 2-year-old classes.

Holy Rollies and the Wilderness

It’s Monday and at Miss Amy’s that means “Outdoor Classroom”.  We take a short journey to a nearby park and explore what mother nature has to offer. The children look forward to it and it’s the perfect cure for the Monday blues. We let them guide themselves and try not to intervene too much. Today we brought clay for impression making, their sketch books, pastel chalks, charcoal, pencils, and a bug net.

The park we visit is beautiful but it is far from a jungle or even a forest, but the kids always equate our visits to being in the wilderness. They seem to go into foraging mode almost instantly.

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A feather collection is started

The bug net spiked their interests immediately. They caught and observed a firefly, dragonfly, and an earwig.

 

Then one little boy noticed some decaying wood under a tree. He lifted up the wood and exclaimed, “Look Holy Rollies!”. One of the older kids said, “Do you mean Roly Poly’s ? They like to live under wood!”. The younger boy agreed that that’s what he meant, but for the rest of the day almost everyone referred to them as holy rollies.

-Miss Amber

Cry Wolf!

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Barter Stage II

At Miss Amy’s we are so lucky to operate in a town that has so many interesting things to do and see. One of our favorite experiences is the Barter Theatre. The Barter is  one of the longest running professional theatres in the nation. We are very blessed that they offer a troupe of actors (The Barter Players) that specialize in performances for young audiences.

Every year the children look forward to watching the plays. It’s a big deal to them! They get a little “dressed up” and they work on using their best manners. We walk through our wonderful town exploring the sights.

We couldn’t have a trip to Stage II without stopping at the “wishing fountain”.

Then we were off to the show. We saw “Cry Wolf“. It’s a fantastic play written by the wonderful Catherine Bush. It was a mash-up of many classic stories. The kids absolutely loved it! They were on the edge of their seats for the entire show. It’s my absolute favorite thing to watch first timers when the lights dim. They have no idea what’s about to happen, but are immediately captivated  every time.  It is so rewarding for them to witness kind of art!

This quote from a Huffington Post article, entitled How Theater for Young People Could Save the World  really illustrates the benefits the children get from the experience.

” Theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from other people’s actions. We practice caring.”

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We had a fantastic time at the theatre. You might have heard us howling all the way home…

-Miss Amber

 

The Last Week of May.

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We have had an other death in the preschool family. This time it was our catfish that died. We dug a hole, picked flowers and said our farewells. The children wanted to know why the fish had died and I explained that it was probably because it was very old. We talked about life and death for a while and some of the children concluded that it wasn’t just fish that died when they were very old, people did too.

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We had our second harvest from our vegetable garden. This time we harvested radishes and lettuce. I had excellent help picking the produce.

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We love blowing bubbles! It is very interesting to watch the children as they develop their bubble-blowing-technique, from sucking on the bubble wand when the children are very young, to skillfully blowing several bubbles at one time as they grow older and more skilled. Sometimes, two bubbles stick together and fly off hand-in-hand! Other times, the children manage to catch bubbles with their wand, study them for a while before re-launching it. Some children have even figured out how to insert a finger into the bubble without breaking it. Science is at work here, every day!

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Some children turned a puppet theater into a library! They selected several books from our outdoor library to offer to their prospective patrons. I saw money changing hands a time or two. Late fees perhaps?

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I laminated several pieces of construction paper of different colors. The children started off by comparing the different colors to different objects around our classroom. Before long though, the game had changed and now two girls had lined up the sheets of paper on the floor, like a hopscotch game of sorts. I watched the girls as they kept re arranging the pieces, putting some colors next to a certain other color, carefully planning every step. I watched the girls stepping back from the game to get a better view, changing things around until they were completely satisfied.
We got some puppets out to play with, and most children happily tried them out. Some of the youngest children were a little wary of the puppets at first: they somehow came alive once you had your hand inside them! I noticed that the puppets soon were hugging other puppets!💟 The two puppets pictured, a baby elephant and a baby koala, quickly became good friends. They soon befriended a xylophone alligator, (a child who was not all that into puppets). The xylophone alligator played the ABC song and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. The baby elephant and the baby koala both sang!

The end of May is here and June is just around the corner…

Until next time!

– Miss Maria

We Are Family.

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All week I have been thinking about what my blog entry this week would be about. I tried to think of a unique angle or an interesting subject, and until yesterday, Thursday, I still had no idea what the subject was going to be…

All week I watched and took part in the childrens’ trials and triumphs.

Growing up is hard work!

There is so much to discover and so much to learn. There are so many complicated rules to follow and just when they think that they know them all there is a new one to learn! There is so much that the children want to try to do by themselves and so many skills not yet mastered…

Frustration, anger, fear and sadness, as well as the thrill of discovery, of mastery and of growth. These are all emotions bubbling up inside a preschoolers mind.

I watched children solving problems together, completely on their own and children taking turns and helping eachother. I watched as a 4-year-old boy helped his 2-year-old friend put her shoes on for her, without any prompting from a teacher!

There is so much love!!💟

I have dried tears, received hugs and high fives and celebrated someone’s mile stone. I have tried to understand exactly what was bothering a child who was experiencing a huge temper tantrum (as were the rest of us…).

As the week progressed, I tried to spend face time with each and every child. I really tried to pay attention, to really listen and try to understand what is happening to these young children on their journey, passing through here at Miss Amy’s.

The other day, I forgot that the group of 3,5-year-old girls that I was laughing with were in fact not my peers but children in my care (oh how lucky I am!).

Children pay so much attention to adults and to eachother. They want to do good and they want to be helpful. Please give children ‘real’ things to help with. They know if you make up a task just for the sake of finding them something to do!

The first children I had in preschool, many years ago when I was a teacher’s aide, will be finishing their first year of college next month! I think of these, my former students and wonder what they are doing now.

Being a preschool teacher to me is an ongoing job that does not end at the end of my work day or when they graduate from my class! We are family, of sorts, and families are forever.

– Miss Maria.

What is Love – According to a Preschooler?

What do preschoolers love or really like?
Of course they love their Mom and Dad, their families and their friends, but what else do they love or really like?…

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Most preschoolers enjoy a good snack.The children helped to make these tasty banana and strawberry muffins yesterday!

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Preschoolers are very artistic and love to draw,  paint or play with play-doh or clay.

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Using glue for collage making or just to watch the glue pour onto the paper…

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Cutting, learning about your numbers and letters and colors are also something that preschoolers quickly become interested in.

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Helping to put up the day of the week or the day’s date on our calendar is also a special activity for our preschoolers.

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Racing fast cars or getting to the fire with a fire truck or calling the tow truck, are also well loved games.

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Many of our children love to care for our baby dolls and soft animals. Some of our children have their very own soft animal here at Miss Amy’s. Pictured are Bear-Bear and Miss Maria’s raccon slippers.

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Right before lunch, the children’s narrative about what they love or really like quickly changed to food.
“I love gooey bars”! “I like broccoli.”
“I like Cheese Doodles.” “I like the normal macaroni.” “I love carrots, but I am almost allergic to them now…”

We would like to wish you all a very happy Valentine’s day! Lots of love from all the children at Miss Amy’s!

– Miss Maria

Love is in the Air!

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It’s “love week” so we have been celebrating and preparing for our Valentine’s Party on Friday. At Miss Amy’s we always like to let the children share their thoughts and ideas, at party time this is no different. Some things we can accommodate, others not so much. Here is their list for the party. Can you guess what was cut ?

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The children have been very interested in baking the past couple of weeks. So they will be baking muffins for the party. They are so excited about that! I also mixed up some chocolate playdoh for them to experiment with. They love the scent!

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We have also started on our valentines. Each child makes one valentine to put into our Valentine Box. Then on party day they each get to pick one super special handmade valentine out of the box. In preschool love is friendship, and there is a whole lot of love here ! – Miss Amber

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