Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Naps, dance parties, and something neat about Kindergarten!

I've mentioned quite a few times that I love the physical and developmental age of Kindergarten kids. I love the way they think, grow and act, and feel pretty darn lucky to spend so much time with them daily. One of the greatest things about small children is their empathy and willingness to accept and celebrate differences.

It's clearly been a busy month (and a bit!) as I haven't posted in much too long. As promised, I'm going to focus on the positives of my job!

1. As always, I am so lucky to have incredible people to work and laugh with. As I'm in two schools this year, it has been so much fun to meet new people again, and to get to know some of the younger teachers in the region. We have had dinner parties, workouts and daily pep talks involving show tunes. There are some truly incredible teachers and TAs in this region, who put huge amounts of energy and creativity into their jobs and are motivating just to watch in action!

2. I get to laugh every day at work. I get to put on music and dance whenever I feel like it, and always have 14+ dance partners ready to bust a move with me. I also get some of the most straight-forward honesty there is.

3. Nap time. Forced or not, it's always a great time to close the doors, pull the blinds, put on some music, lay on the carpet and pretend to snore through a few songs. (If only they'd actually sleep!)

4. We are on the receiving end of some of the greatest hugs in the world! For one little guy who has a tough life outside of school, our morning hugs have become a central part to our day, and (we hope!) helps him realize that even though things are tricky and tough to figure out at home, we will be there to welcome him and to provide some routine and stability.

A couple anecdotes to close this post:

I have one little guy who speaks very quickly and stutters as a result. One day during free play he came up to me with a toy ambulance in his hand saying, "L-l-l-l-ook t-t-t-eacher! I-i-it's a-a-a....sorta-police!" Of course it took me a few go-rounds to understand the connection he was making! (This is the same little guy who went around the school on his birthday with leftover cake for the other teachers saying, "H-h-hey! You wan'cake?"

In one school I have a little boy (4 years old) who is epileptic. He is mostly non-verbal, as he has about 5 words that he can speak and has very little connection between these words and their meanings. Today I had just started on our 'Sound Connections,' literacy program, with the aim to review letter sounds. This little boy shoved his way to the front, took a pointer, and made his way right to the board to stand in front of me. This already was huge for him, as he is a very busy guy and doesn't like to stay in one place (much less one room) for any period of time. Second, the fact that he was engaging in our lessons and with the rest of the kids was pretty amazing. The kids realized right away that it was this little guy's turn to play teacher, and to watch him for instruction. I printed a letter on the board (or combinations of them), and the students would sing the letter sounds together as he tapped the board with his wand, and stopped when he stopped. It was very cool to see the connections he was making just from his facial expressions.

In the same school I have another boy who is very sensitive to the feeling of things, being touched and loud noises. Today we were making snowmen out of finger-paint and our thumbs, and this little guy decided that he would do it too. This is huge for this little one, and he stuck his hand right in the paint (as long as he had a clean towel to wipe off on!) and got to work without a fuss. Thank goodness for cameras!

I think that's all I can handle for tonight as I'm falling asleep as I type!

Thanks for reading!