Her home is topsy turvy.
Lots of kids, lots of grown-ups, no routines and regularity.
School has lots of kids and lots of grown ups
but here there are comforting routines and regularity.
Here there is a home she can organize, tame, and call her own.
Her home is topsy turvy.
Hey there big people!
But my teachers hug me when I’m sad and they talk soft to me and hold my hand and there are other kids here. I like the other kids. But mostly, I like to play. And I get to. I get to play with all kinds of stuff I don’t have at home and it’s really really fun.
There’s other stuff I like too. I like how we sing songs together and have a story. I love to play on the playground, its like the park! I learned how to go down the little pole all by myself. Teacher says I have to practice more before I try the big pole, but she says she knows I’ll be able to do it soon.
We eat breakfast at school and lunch too. Sometimes I don’t like what they have for lunch. We even brush our teeth at school. And I get to ride a real school bus. I can’t do my straps yet but I’m trying to figure them out. On the way home I always fall asleep.
Sometimes a little event occurs in my life which reveals more about what I know about teaching young children than any interview or observation. And these things happen in ways that I could not plan for, or replicate, ever.
This happened to me last Thursday when I encountered the new kindergarten teacher walking towards me in the hall with a look of exasperation on her face. She grabbed my elbow and asked, “How do you deal with them (her class) going to the bathroom and getting a drink?” Ms. R is a veteran grade school teacher, a mom and new grandmother, but she is new to kindergarteners – who are new to “school” – and this is one of those things teachers usually learn through experience, not in college courses, workshops or Power Points.
Only a quarter of our kindergarteners attend preschool with me and aren’t yet savvy in their role as peer models with their new classmates. If they were, they would know to quietly prompt their new friends to get business done quickly and quietly and they would show them how to use our crazy sinks which work on body heat – sometimes. Instead, I’ve spent this last week witnessing wandering 5 year olds, enjoying a bit of freedom in the hall, talking and playing with others who have come to the watering hole. Since my class hasn’t started yet, I’ve been able to poke my head into the hall and quietly coach these newbies. If one of my prior students is there, I just give him or her the hairy eyeball and remind them to help their friends learn how to use the bathroom.
In answering Ms. R’s question, I realized I have knowledge about how to teach young students about this part of “school” that isn’t on a pacing guide or the Common Core. It makes me think about other necessary skills and bits of information our students need to know to be successful and how all of us have learned to teach them.
And today is the day I need to have it all in my head because today is my first day.