How Do You Eat An Elephant?
“What part of the preschool day is most important,” you might ask? I would have to say, “ALL of it!” Every single aspect is not only important, but all the preschool classes are well thought out and planned. Educators must take into consideration the stage of development of the children they are teaching, as well as the theme and purpose.
Due to the many facets in a preschool day, it probably can feel like a daunting task.
Someone once asked me how I would eat an elephant. Not knowing the purpose of the question and a bit unnerved I responded, “I don’t know, I’m not all that hungry!” This very wise person was trying to lighten the mood as we both stood at the edge of a very large task and simply answered, “One bite at a time.” Today we are going to take just one bite out of this extremely large elephant we call preschool!
My most favorite time of the day happens to be Circle time. Circle time is also full of untapped potential. This is the time when I can get the first read on what the rest of our day is going to look like. Every student and teacher comes into our building with their own energy and history. You never know what happened in the car on the way into preschool or the night before. ALL of it affects our day. I call the kids in from the “welcome center” time and position myself at the front of the class. Remember when the movie “Terminator” came out and you could see his thoughts in red, typed on the screen? Well, that’s me taking in every bit of the latest information the children and staff are showing me.
Watching Their Every Move!
I have about three minutes to do my initial intake as well as adjust my plans and objectives. The children are approaching and the tension mounts. It is not unlike my acting days of reading the audience. I ask myself a series of questions and take note of body language:
- The children seem extra wiggly this morning.
- Do I need to add another song?
- Johnny seems to be agitated.
- Why is Suzy sitting so far away?
- Brian looks like he needs to use the restroom.
- Alice has jelly smeared across her face.
- Lucy has on new shoes.
- Why does my assistant look like she hasn’t slept?
- Maybe it’s a full moon.
- Do I need to spend more time introducing our new theme today?
- All this observational information is extremely important.
Aligning The Planets For a Successful Preschool Day!
Three minutes have passed, I now have 16 bundles of joy and boundless energy sitting before me. I have one shot to get this right and set us up for a successful preschool day. One glorious moment in time to orchestrate and align all the planets and different components that flavor my unique classroom.
Preschool is made up of a series of moments, and those moments are turned into lifelong memories. I ask myself, “How can I make this day count?” Remember when I said that I have three minutes to observe and tweak my plans…not including the time and years it took to strengthen my circle time skills? Please be mindful, that this is just one 20 minute block in an eight-hour day, 5 days a week, 12 months a year!
I have 5 extra seconds to give myself a stern pep-talk, “Heather, you got this!” and “You were made for moments like this!” OK… here we go!! GOOD Morning Friends!! Everyone crisscross applesauce, hands in the bowl!
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