Sunday, December 3, 2017

Fairlee Public Library

From a Preschooler's Perspective

Preschooler: "I love maple ice cream!"
Teacher: "Do you like to eat it in a cone or a cup?"
Preschooler: "I don't ever eat it."

Fairlee Public Library

We have a very special relationship with the Fairlee Public Library. Every other week, when the weather is good, we walk over to the library to see "Mrs. Samantha". During each visit Mrs. Samantha will read a couple of books to the preschoolers and then she will also have an arts and crafts project for the children to do - which is typically tied into the season and/or the stories that have been read. 

Mrs. Samantha is great at reading stories and always has the preschoolers captivated during her read alouds. The children always really enjoy working on the projects as well. We are very fortunate to have, so close to the school, such an excellent opportunity to be engaged in the broader community. Following are pictures from some recent visits to the Fairlee Public Library. Hopefully they capture what a terrific experience the preschoolers have whenever we take a walk down the road to spend time with Mrs. Samantha!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving Celebration

From a Preschooler's Perspective

Preschooler #1: "I have a spork."
Preschooler #2: "What's a spork?"
Preschooler #1: "It's a spoon and a fork."
Preschooler #2: "I gotta get me one of those!"

Thanksgiving Celebration

On November 15th we had our 11th annual Thanksgiving Celebration in the gym. The theme for this year's event was "Pizza and Pie". We had a great turnout of preschoolers and their families and everyone seemed to be enjoying the food and having a great time together. Aside from eating pizza, pie, and pie toppings, the preschoolers enjoyed playing with toys from the classroom, running around (since we were in the gym) and even dunking a few basketballs! Thanks so much to the members of the Steering Committee who planned the event (and picked up the pizza) and also to everyone who attended and brought pot-luck items to share!

Scenes from the Thanksgiving Celebration

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Using Photography at School

From a Preschoolers Perspective

We talk about germs in the preschool, and how important it is to wash your hands. A preschooler recently confided to me that, "My daddy picked up a dead snake and then he threw it in the woods. And he didn't even wash his hands before he went to bed!"

Using Photography at School

It is well known that I take lots of pictures of the children in the preschool. Since I worked as a photographer and graphic designer prior to (and since) becoming a teacher, this is a natural thing for me to tie in with my current work as an educator. In our program, taking photographs of the preschoolers serves many practical and important purposes.

When I am composing and taking the pictures, it provides an additional way for me to focus on what individual students, and groups of children, are doing. This type of focused observation is a fundamental component of how we assess the progress of students in early education environments.

By immediately showing the images (through the magic of digital cameras!) to the children, I can give them instant, and very gratifying, feedback on what they are currently doing. This shared viewing of photos is typically accompanied by positive verbal commentary, which creates a powerful way for the preschoolers to build a strong self-image of themselves as learners and members of an educational community.

Sometimes the preschoolers take pictures of their friends with my camera. This gives them a feeling for what it is like to compose and take photographs. And some of their photos come out pretty good!

When class is not in session I look over all of the pictures that I have taken and edit the many that I will keep. Once edited, the pictures are then placed in individual student folders. These collections of images serve as a permanent record of the depth and quality of each child’s approach to learning, as well as their specific abilities and skills in the many domains that are covered by our curriculum and standards.

Slideshows of recent photographs are typically running on the large computer monitor in the classroom. This provides yet another opportunity for children and parents to view first hand the experiences that the students are having in preschool. The preschoolers like to not only see themselves in the slideshows, but also to see the friends that they are so connected to in the classroom.

The preschool blog offers another way for me to share photographs of the preschoolers in action. In this format I am typically presenting pictures that illustrate a particular activity or type of learning that we have been engaged in, or that represent a theoretical aspect of our approach to teaching and learning. 

Finally, by sending copies of the photos (through e-mails) to parents I can communicate very directly what their children’s experiences are in the preschool. At the end of the year each family will receive a DVD with all of their child’s edited images on it and this will serve as a detailed and informative document of their child’s time in the preschool. Many parents have told me that they (and their children) have greatly enjoyed looking over these photos for years after their children have “graduated” from our program!

Here are a few suggestions for parents to get the most out of these photos at home:
1. View these pictures with your child! This is a great way for families to share the experiences that the children are having at preschool. This can also be a springboard to conversations about the children’s time in school.
2. If possible, view these pictures on a larger screen. I enjoy my smart phone too, but there’s nothing like seeing these high quality pictures in a larger format where they can best be seen and appreciated.
3. Think about the educational implications of the pictures you are viewing. I typically photograph and share images from the preschool day that reflect the children’s growth and development in the many areas covered by our activities and curriculum. I especially like to take and share photos that reflect students’ positive social-emotional experiences and their love of learning and being in school. 

While the photographs that are e-mailed directly to parents are typically focused on what their own child is doing in school; the photo collections that are presented in the slideshows at school and in the blog provide an opportunity for parents to see how the whole group is engaged.

People at times ask me if I am still taking landscape photographs (such as the ones that are hanging up in the classroom). I generally don’t, but I feel that my training and background as a photographer is being put to even more productive and meaningful use right in the preschool!

Photographic Portraits of the 2017-2018 Preschoolers