Saturday, June 16, 2018

Really Big Friends

From a Preschooler's Perspective:

A preschooler recently told me, in no uncertain terms, "I'm going to be bigger than you when I'm 41!"

Really Big Friends

In the last two blog posts I stressed the importance of the strong ongoing connection between the preschool program and children in the rest of our school. This past week I had a surprise visit from some older (eighth grade) students that served as a reminder that the relationship between preschool graduates and the preschool can extend even further than the elementary grades.

Abbey, Savannah, Willow and Alex all left the preschool for kindergarten close to ten years ago. As you can see from the pictures below, they are still quite at home in their old preschool classroom. Of course, a major reason why this is so is that during all of their elementary years we continued to see them on a very regular basis (as described in my recent posts).

These frequent interactions over the years make it so that even when children cross the river to attend secondary school, they can still feel a close attachment to the place where their public school careers first began. And how awesome is it that so many years later these children still feel such a strong connection to the staff that first cared for them in preschool and that they can be so comfortable (and have so much fun) in the place where they first attended school when they were just 3 and 4 years old!

And here are Savannah, Alex, Willow and Abbey when they were in preschool :-)


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Big Friends

From a Preschooler's Perspective

Preschooler #1: "Can I bring my cell phone to school?"
Preschooler #2: "It's up to moms and dads."
Preschooler #3: "And husbands!"

Big Friends

Long after the preschoolers have "graduated" from our program and moved on to the elementary grades, they have still retained a special connection to the preschool where their first educational experiences in the Samuel Morey school began. There is a unique quality about the time that children spend in preschool and I have often heard our graduates fondly reminiscing about the "good old days" that they spent with us in our classroom. The fact that these older children have still retained a connection to the preschool, even after many years have gone by, has been very important to them (and to me). And this benefit has not only extended to our preschool grads. There have been many students that first arrived at the Samuel Morey School as older children (kindergarten and up) who have become very attracted to the preschool and have regularly dropped by to say hello or have gotten excited to see us when we were traveling down the hall to some destination in the school!

This ongoing connection between older students and the preschool has not only been clearly beneficial to the "big kids" but it has been very important to the current preschoolers as well. Most of our students begin preschool already having strong relationships with older children (who may be siblings, cousins, or just friends) in the building. For children who are just beginning their time in an educational setting outside the home, these connections can be a crucial component of their positive social-emotional development.

In addition to seeing them around the school and out on the playground, the older children offer a continually positive presence in the preschool classroom itself on a regular basis. They drop by to say hello, they come in to read us stories, and they bring us birthday treats on their birthdays. In the morning before school begins and in the afternoon when school has ended, preschoolers' siblings (and staff members' children) will also frequently be found in the preschool.

Following are some of the pictures that I have taken of our "big friends" throughout the course of the school year. You can see in these photos the strong positive connection that remains (or has been formed) between them and the preschool program. As the preschool teacher I have really appreciated and enjoyed having the opportunity to continue to be connected with my students for years after they have moved on from the preschool to the older grades!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Kindergarten Connection

From a Preschooler's Perspective

A preschooler who thought that her friends were being too loud in the classroom exclaimed, "They're bustin' out my ears!"

The Kindergarten Connection

In the literature regarding early education, the transition from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten has a very prominent place. Research, as well as direct experience, tells us that the quality of the transitional experience of children and families to their first year of elementary school is of great importance. 

Our preschool has had a very close and active relationship with the kindergarten classroom which is located right across the hall from us. This has been greatly beneficial to both the kindergarten children (most of whom have attended the preschool) and the preschoolers (most of whom will one day attend the Samuel Morey kindergarten). When school begins in the fall, the relationship that the new kindergarteners still have to the preschool is very important to them (and we also start to form a close connection to kindergarteners who did not attend our preschool.) During the later part of the school year we begin to have regularly scheduled joint activities with the kindergarten, thereby strengthening the growing bond between the current preschoolers and the kindergarten program and teacher.

Our impromptu interactions with the kindergarteners take many forms as: we see them in the hallway, they drop in to say hello, they come by to eat breakfast in the morning before school begins, they bring us birthday cupcakes, we see them outside during recess, or they just pop by our window to say hello. At other times, some of us from the preschool go into the kindergarten to say hello as well. The more formal, planned activities can take place in the preschool, the kindergarten, or on the playground. These are rousing and fun affairs where preschoolers and kindergarteners play and learn together - and the preschoolers are continuously getting more comfortable with the idea of their eventual move across the hall.

As the preschool teacher I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to stay in close contact with the preschool "graduates" long after they have moved on to their elementary years and I also have really enjoyed the opportunity to become acquainted with the children that did not attend our preschool program. And from the kindergarten point of view, I know that the teachers there have always found it to be extremely beneficial to have the preschoolers become so familiar with, and feel so comfortable in, the kindergarten - well before it is time for their transition to actually occur.

Below are some pictures of the kindergarteners (with a few of their preschool friends) during the course of this year. From these pictures you can see the importance to them of their ongoing connection to students and staff on the preschool level. I am sure that this positive connection has helped to make their first year in the elementary program a happier and more successful experience, and in turn will help to provide the same benefits to the preschoolers when it is their time to move across the hall!