Having a classroom filled with kids can sometimes be overwhelming. Some are happy, some are sad, some are hungry....every child is different and every day is different!
And we aren't fairy godmothers who can say "abra cadabra" and wave our magic wand for immediate happy kids! (Although wouldn't that be nice?)
I'm not perfect either. I have my positive days and I have my rough days- but there are 6 things I keep telling myself that helps most of my days be a positive one (no matter the kid and parent chaos!)
- Planning engaging, open-ended curriculum
- Giving kids jobs in the classroom (a sense of ownership)
- Supporting children's emotions in a positive way.
- Meeting our kids where they are (developmentally)
- Having honest and open communication with parents.
- Having a flexible outlook!
Sounds hard right?
I have great news! It's not as hard as it sounds. In order to do those 6 things, just take a step back, breathes and enter the classroom everyday as a new day!
1.To plan open ended activities, don't stress about learning objectives - just place some materials out on the tables and encourage kids to use them on their own! Ask they questions, take pictures, document what they do... and you will be shocked at everything they are learning!
2.Classroom jobs give kids a sense of purpose in the classroom. This encourages them to help keep it clean and orderly (like my favorite job "the clean up king/queen!"
3. Support children's emotions by teaching them how to stop, calm down and talk about their feelings with their peers. My Soothing Sammy Program teaches these skills through Play!
4. All of our kids are at different developmental levels, and that is okay! Each child has their own strengths and if we build on those you will see a transformation in the other areas you are working on. Use Howard Gardners 8 languages of learning to support all kids!
5. Communication with parents is of upmost importance. Start the very first day a new child enters the classroom by allowing the parent to observe. Tell them they can ask you anything and you will make sure to ask them questions and give reports on their child's day. Ask questions such as "how did they sleep?" "did anything exciting or sad happen this weekend at home?"... hearing these insights into kids experiences outside the classroom will help you understand their behaviors in the classroom.
6. Being flexible isn't always easy! We have our plans and the kids have theirs! Know that it is okay to scrap a day's plans and just be with the kids. Actually, sometimes they have better ideas then ours (like one day when the kids created a whole drive through restaurant in the pretend play area, assigned roles to all the kids, created menus, counted serving sizes....the pretend play took up 2 hours instead of the allotted 45 minutes... but boy did we all learn a lot!)
You see, kids are so capable of learning on their own. When we bridge home life, school life, academics and emotional intelligence all into our school day, our kids become well rounded and teachers learn more about our littles then we ever thought possible!
So remember - take a step back! Breathe! If all doesn't go as planned, that is okay! You are amazing!