...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shameless self-congratulation

So, the preschoolers are currently doing a penguin unit. We've been talking a lot about rookeries, penguin creches (which we call "penguin preschools"...they love looking at a picture of a creche, finding the one adult penguin tending the dozens of chicks, and shouting "There's Penguin Eduardo!"), penguin food chains, and the penguin life cycle. Each day for our learning circle we read a story about penguins or look at pictures or something. Once a week or so we write a question related to the study up on a sheet of poster board, ask it to the kids, and record their exact responses. For instance, once the question was "What's a predator?" We write down exactly what they say in response, including "ums" and "uh"s. The idea is that the child gets to witness an adult taking their idea seriously, writing it down, seeing how the letters are formed and the words sounded out, etc. Up on the wall near the circle-time carpet we have several sheets of poster board with the kids' questions and responses, the penguin paintings the kids did with their accompanying stories, a penguin poem we all worked on together, and a chart we made of the penguin food chain. There's a lot of written word stuff all over the classroom. We also have large photo documentation boards of the kids doing various activities, like playing with the musical instruments. All of this is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, one of the philosophies around which the school is centered.

So, here comes the shameless self-congratulation.

1. I have found one of the school's directors to be a little reticent to give praise. But she was in our room the other day, and was like, "Your guys' room looks really nice." Although she said it to me, I'm sure it was directed to our whole teaching team (I have two co-teachers). But since I arranged all of the penguin stuff and the other displays, artwork, and did the photo documentation boards, I'll go ahead and pat myself on the back.

2. All of the parent orientation meetings were held in my room, since it's the largest in the building. After the other preschool class's orientation, the parents of J, a child from the other preschool class, talked to my co-teacher Eduardo about trying to switch J into our class--they liked all of the written word displays we have, and felt that our class was more pre-kindergarten and science-y than the other preschool class, which has more younger kids.

3. A parent a child in the other preschool was showing a friend of hers (I assume) around the school. They popped in to my class while a few kids were looking at books on the carpet and I was washing some paint trays at the sink. "This is the more academic preschool class," she said to her friend.