Saturday, February 10, 2018

Kathleen


From a Preschooler's Perspective:

A preschooler who was having a hard time getting her mittens on to go outside approached me and exclaimed, "This mitten won't focus with me!"


Kathleen


For those of you that are new to the preschool program, let me introduce my dear friend Kathleen Foltz. Kathleen was the original teacher/director in the Rivendell Early Childhood Program, which began sixteen years ago with the school district's first preschool classroom located in the Westshire School. Eleven years ago, when I was hired to teach and be the director in the second preschool classroom in the Samuel Morey School, Kathleen and I began a long professional relationship (that finally ended two years ago when Kathleen retired) and an even longer personal friendship (that continues to this day).

So, it was a very special occasion when Kathleen came to visit, and be a guest teacher, in our classroom this past Friday. Kathleen (who arrived with her ukelele) read, sang and played music to the story Abiyoyo. Her performance quickly engaged the preschoolers who were captivated by her storytelling and musical talents, but even more so by her special presence as a teacher.

Kathleen's visit was not only great fun, but it was a bittersweet reminder of how much I enjoyed all of the time that we spent together over the years and how much I miss working with her on a regular basis. Although our teaching styles are different, our aspirations were always exactly the same - to have the Rivendell Early Childhood Program be a "very special place" for children and families as well as to provide a model for what preschools located in the public school system can achieve.

Although we took our jobs (as the first teachers of the children in the Rivendell schools) very seriously, we always had lots of fun together. No matter what we were working on, or the pressures of the moment, we always ended up laughing helplessly out loud - as we did once again when we were eating lunch together following her performance to the preschoolers. And, for that alone (but also for so many other reasons), I think back on our collaborations as one of the very high points of my long career as an educator.

So, in summary, I'd like to say to Kathleen, thank you so much for the fun visit on Friday and for all of the wonderful years that we spent together in the Rivendell Early Childhood Program. We can't wait for your next visit to the preschool!


Kathleen Reading a Piggie & Elephant Story With Preschool Friends



Kathleen and Preschoolers During Her Performance of "Abiyoyo"



Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mrs. Jen

From a Preschooler's Perspective:


Preschooler to Teacher: "Can you put (my friend) in time out? He's not listening to me!"



Mrs. Jen


Eleven years ago, when we first opened up the Samuel Morey Preschool, Jen Parenti was brought in to be the classroom assistant. At the time I didn't know Jen, but I quickly came to value all of the exceptional qualities and the special personality that she brought to our preschool environment. After six years with us Jen left the preschool to become a home based child care provider. This year we have been very fortunate to welcome Jen back to the program as our primary substitute teacher.

As Jen has already been in for a good amount of days this year, I am again reminded of how exceptional she is with the preschoolers and how quickly she forms close and caring relationships with them. Since Becka, Jen and I all worked together over the course of several years, we have all enjoyed our "reunion" and have found ourselves reminiscing about children that we taught years ago and many of the special and funny moments that we had with them.

A highlight of last week was on Thursday when the preschool band "Jenormous" got back together. When Jen was with us as the classroom assistant, she and Norm Page (who had been the Samuel Morey custodian) performed for the preschoolers on a regular basis with Jen playing piano and singing and Norm playing guitar. At times they were joined by various additional musical guests. It was great to have Norm and Jen playing together for us again and, as usual, their musical talents and Jen's beautiful voice captivated their preschool audience.

I believe that one of the really exceptional things about the Samuel Morey Preschool experience has been all of the meaningful connections that have been made between children, parents, families, and staff over the years. Having Mrs. Jen back with us this year is another reminder of the the positive relationships that are formed while we share the responsibilities, and the joys, of caring for our wonderful young students together.


Mrs. Jen With Charlotte


The Return of Jenormous!


Preschoolers Dancing to Jenormous


Mrs. Jen With Preschool Friends

Monday, January 15, 2018

Preschool Friends

From A Preschooler's Perspective

More Preschool Vocabulary:

A preschooler who had the hiccups told me, "I can't stop hicking!"

Another preschooler was describing a toy at home that "viberates".

And yet another preschooler was excited to identify a "patteren".




Preschool Friends


In our program, due to our focus on promoting positive social behavior, we don't observe too many interpersonal difficulties amongst the preschoolers. We continuously do see examples of the children being respectful of each other and playing happily together. Having been in many educational and early childcare settings over my years as an educator, I know that this level of positive social engagement is not always the case.

There are many ways that we promote positive socialization amongst the preschoolers. It all begins with the very close and caring bonds that we create and maintain with our students. Continuous modeling of considerate and empathetic behavior is also crucial in this regard. Having high expectations for how children treat each other, and consistent follow through in maintaining these expectations, is also very important.

A more in-depth look at how we promote pro-social behaviors is included in the Curriculum and Learning section of the blog. Below are some photographic illustrations of the very positive ways that the preschoolers typically engage with each other at school. When I am looking through the pictures that I have recently taken of the preschoolers, there is nothing that I enjoy seeing more than children who are genuinely enjoying each others company and treating each other in a a caring and empathetic way!