Miss Toni talks...preschool family!
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October is a time of transition. It's that quiet time of the year nestled right between the hustle and bustle of back-to-school and the kickoff of the holiday season which starts at Thanksgiving.
That makes it a great time of year for us to check in with our little ones and evaluate how they are adjusting to the new school year. Times of transition can be as important as -"events"- yet they are not always easy to recognize for everyone. For example, the transition between summer and autumn and autumn and winter is often most apparent in the seasonal changes of the weather. But for those of us who live in warmer climates like Florida, we may miss those signs of transition altogether.
Life can be that way too. I believe transitions are in fact the hardest part of life for all of us, but especially for small children. That's because children experience transition more often than most adults. And these transitions often occur without warning or clear emotional reason. For example, the pacifier that a parent first gives to their infant to sooth and comfort is suddenly no longer available to the toddler. Or when a small child's little legs become too tired to walk and parents decline to pick them up as they had done when the child was a toddler. But these and many other norms of childhood end behind the phrase: "you're too big for that; now." That leaves the curious child to wonder when did NOW happen?
I remember the day Max" and his mommy first walked into my 3 year old class. His mommy "Gail" had been a stay at home mommy since Max's birth, but ow after much deliberation with her husband and within herself, she had made the decision that it was time to re-enter the her dream profession, nursing, full time. Max and Gail's goodbye in my classroom that morning was filled with tears. Throughout the morning Max repeatedly wondered aloud, "Where is mommy and daddy?" Let me tell you, as a preschool teacher this is the question I experience most frequently by children and it took me a long time to find an answer which made sense emotionally to the child as well as describe the new now for them.
I grew to understand that information clarifies the now and supports emotional autonomy in preschoolers, and fortunately by the time I met Max and his family I had already developed a powerful transitional tool in the form of my music. The Preschool Family song "In the Morning" presents the now as well as sets the intention of the day in language that is clear, concise, and age appropriate for children. I put that song on a loop on the small pink cd player in the block center in my classroom. Max settled down next to it and began to play. Pretty soon he began to sing along as the song played over and over again. Just before 11a.m. Max walked over from playing with a group of children and said to me, "Miss Toni preschool is a happy place!"
That afternoon Gail returned to school and was overjoyed to find Max excited by their new now. She took home a cd for her family as well as a nurse she had met that day who had the exact same morning as she had with Max. She was now so happy that she could go off to work each day and enjoy the experience knowing that Max was also enjoying his experience at preschool.
In this season of transition, as autumn leaves begin to quietly fall; and mommies and daddies go off to work; while children enter preschools to grow through play, may preschool teachers everywhere continue their commitment to making their classrooms a most happy place!
Until next time, remember child development is human development.