Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome Back

Hi everyone!  Happy New Year!

Boy, it's been two whole weeks (feels like longer) since we've seen the kids and families and I admit that I'm ready to get back into the preschool routine!  This has been a real vacation... relaxing, unwinding, and really getting out of work-mode (which is hard to do when preschool is at your house!).

My friend Katy sent me this awesome article on play-based preschool programs and I just loved how it brought to light the important things that we help children work on each day.  Impulse control, coping skills during transitions or times of emotional upset, turn-taking, inquisitiveness, problem-solving (individual and collective), becoming flexible, making meaningful decisions...these are all things that children get to practice each day in play-based programs.  I know many adults that lack some of these very basic life skills.  In fact, I lacked them when I got into this was by reflective teaching practices and a commitment to personal growth (and some really amazing mentors) that I've been able to get a good quality preschool education myself.  It's such an honor to be able to work with these children and watch them develop valuable life skills that will help them not only in the block area today, but in elementary school next year and in the workplace years later.

When you walk into a developmentally appropriate early childhood education environment (what a mouthful!), there is a palpable feeling when the teachers are doing it right.  No, no, not that there's a right and wrong way, but there are underlying tenants that should drive our teaching--I won't go into it here but there just are, in my opinion.  And when children are in those high quality environments, it shows in their interactions with each other and the adults, how autonomous they are in their play and self-care routines, and in many other ways.  I also think a necessary component in all that is love, but that's also another post.

The last circle time that we had here (it was the last Friday we were open) I got very choked up as I sang holiday songs with the children.  I looked around at the kids, deeply engaged in the collective music by singing enthusiastically or listening, and I got to really appreciate the community of children that we've created at Beansprouts.  I truly believe it's because we are play-based, because we do what we know and what the research says is best for children.  I think that Beansprouts is a really, really good place for children, and it shows with how connected the children are to each other, the teachers, the curriculum, and themselves.  I'm so grateful for and inspired by this.

Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow...hope you are enjoying the last hours of your holiday vacations!


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