A New School Yearby Katie Foth on 02/21/18
Since March of 2017, I worked full-time as a rotating two-year-old teacher at Park Place Children's Center. Near the end of August 2017, the children moved up to their new classes, and I enjoyed getting to know three new groups of two-year-old children.
The rotator position is the best of all worlds: It demands flexibility (I haul my box of tricks from one room to the next). But I don't have to try to squeeze in monthly assessments, schedule parent conferences, or send out parent communications, as the lead teachers must. I am still free to come up with cool ideas for learning, but most of all I simply get to enjoy the kids. I'm the fun teacher, and the kids look forward to their "Mrs. Katie" days.
In February 2018, I accepted the position of lead teacher for the Goldfish class. Making each day interesting does take more effort on my part, but I enjoy the rewards. The children loved the day I brought lots of B-food items in my surprise box: broccoli, bananas, blueberries, brussel sprouts, beets. Some of the children ate broccoli raw and begged for more! The next week C-foods were equally exciting--carrots, cabbage (they felt how heavy), corn (they helped to husk it), and cranberries (small).
I've been rolling out changes:
- My train whistle means, "Line up! We're going out of the room!" A yellow train track marks the spot where they line up.
- I've added new items to the sensory table nearly every day (sadly, many teachers do not use the sensory table on a consistent basis): various forms of pasta, beans, green peas, and now sand.
- I managed to convince the administration to buy four new costumes (sturdy Melissa and Doug outfits that the children love--fire chief, police officer, doctor, and construction worker).
- And I introduced a new center--a store with a retro Fisher-Price cash register that the kids love. I used the Learning Resources Farmer's Market Color Sorting Set and A-Z Alphabet Grocery Set. I aim to order the Learning Resources One to Ten Counting Cans too.
Park Place Children's Center (where I work) offers a schedule filled with various activities. Each two-year-old class enjoys half an hour on the playground in the morning and in the afternoon. In addition, two-year-old classes enjoy twenty minutes outside the classroom for enrichment, Spanish, library, and gym. Of course there's breakfast, lunch, and nap time as well. The rest of the day is spent in the classroom either in circle time or free-play in various centers. I work to make that time interesting and relevant to the children.
- For Valentine's Day, I taught the children how to set a table. They used plastic tableware and some old place mats and napkins that I inherited from my mother-in-law. The kids were so excited about helping their parents! They did pretty well learning too.
- Tomorrow I am bringing in the new ukulele my husband very kindly bought me for Valentine's Day. I hope to enjoy more music with the children (nursery songs and folk songs).
Am I tired at the end of the day? You bet! I don't typically have much energy left to pursue my writing interests. But it's a satisfying kind of tired.