Saturday, October 29, 2011

Me Getting a Grip

In the past few posts, on this early childhood blog, I have found myself writing about my challenges, and difficulties this fall in my small group of 2 1/2 year old children.

This weekend I finally spent a good amount of time alone in my room, cleaning, and preparing for November. And I came to realize that although I felt I wasn't coping well for the last two months, we still managed to do some art, and some learning. We have come a long way, and so I thought it would be fun to show some of our activities.

 We talked and read  about scarecrows, and we created construction paper versions of scare crows with "pumpkin" heads. The children used glue spreaders, and white glue, and glued paper shapes I had precut to white paper, and then I cut around them later. The children were getting a feel for using glue spreaders, and at the same time making something they could identify. We made these for the monthly bulletin board. Each group in the daycare contributes art based on a theme, for a bulletin board at the front entry to the center.

The children enjoyed playing in this sensory tub of flour mixed with spices (cinnamon, and ginger). And we also made an apple pie from scratch. The children used butter knives to slice the apples, and we also made our own pie dough. Everyone seemed to think the pie tasted very good as well!

 These small brooms came in handy to brush flour dust off clothes, and as well now my kids love sweeping the floor around the sandbox. One of my children takes great pleasure from sweeping with the adult sized broom, and having me hold the dustpan to catch the sand.

We made footprint "ghosts", and the children somewhat gingerly allowed me to paint their feet with white paint.I love painting their feet, because I know they will find it relaxing, and it somewhat reminds me of the pleasure I remember in having my Mom paint my toenails as a child.One child didn't want to take off his socks and have his feet painted, but did allow me to paint his hands. I think each small activity we engaged in this past month was a building of trust, and this one even more so.Well, I can't wait to do more barefeet fun, such as walking in the squishy marbles I've read about in several blogs this while.

We learned an old traditional Halloween fingerplay, "Five Little Pumpkins", and also just played with the felt pieces. This group loves stories, fingerplays and action songs, and I also love them.

We pounded golf tees into pumpkins. I love this idea which I found at the wonderful blog, Learning for Life. The children love this too.This has been out since the past Monday, and I will keep it going until we need to dispose of the pumpkins. It is relaxing, and children from all the age groups have enjoyed it.

I was surprised at how quiet the activity is. Quiet and soothing is always a good thing to have in my room.

 We painted egg cartons to make these "ornamental corns". And the children then painted many egg cartons in many other colours - purple, green, and reds.

We gathered autumn leaves, and sang about autumn leaves and made leaf collages.

I try to have collage materials set out for the children to use at any time with glue sticks, or with white glue and glue spreaders.

Here are our treat bags ready for Monday. On Monday there will be a Halloween party and the children can wear costumes, and bring treats for the people in their group. Often there is great dancing music and everyone has a wonderful time dancing.

We'll carve a small pumpkin and read a favourite book. 

And we'll be sure to get to play outside. As with any party, there will be some stress, and the best way I've found, with my small group, to counter stress is to enjoy the outdoors.These children just love being outside.

 Tuesday will be the start of a new month, and we will begin to learn about ladybugs,and other insects. My children have been preoccupied with the finding of ladybugs all October, and so I know this will be a topic of interest. I was able to find some informative books at the public library with good pictures and explanations of the life cycle of bugs.

I think having the opportunity to have a good block of time to get myself and my environment in abit of order has helped me to "get a grip".

 Out of curiousity I looked the saying "to get a grip", up on the internet, and found 2 good definitions:

- "to make an effort to control your emotions and behave more calmly" (Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary and Thesaurus); and

- "To start to deal with a problem, situation, or job that you have to do" (MacMillan Dictionary and Thesaurus ).

I feel most calm when I can work in an organized fashion, and I think by taking this time over the weekend will result for me in more sense of calm in my work. I am so fortunate to work where I do, in a wonderful building with light and space, and a supportive, cooperative administration. As well, I know that I am priviliged to live where I do; that I have so much that others don't have access to, and as well  employment in a field I do love. I know that there are always ways that things could be better, but just for today I am choosing to feel grateful, and that what I have is enough. 

I think my children, also are feeling more confident in me and the environment, as we've glued, painted, sung, danced and played together. They have learned that there is some reliable order to the day - a time to eat, and to play, a time to rest, and to dance, and also that when they are upset or in tears, there will be a time for soothing words and hugs. As well, these young children have learned that they can have faith that their trusted adult - be it parent, or grandparent, an aunt or uncle, will come back at the end of the day.

I think together, me and my small children are "getting a grip".

Many thanks to anyone who has had the patience to read through this post.

Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Halloween!


Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Hi Mullin,
You have done so many wonderful things with your class.. It really does take some time to get settled into routines and for the children to understand your expectations and to smoothly transition from one thing to the next. I find that taking a weekend to clean my classroom and get organized can make all the difference in how I feel when I am teaching. It looks to me like your class is really having a good time - I love all the activities you are sharing with them! Keep up the great work!

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Hi, Deborah,
Thanks for taking time to read here, and your kind comment.
Yes, I too feel so much more comfortable, if I've taken time to organize and prepare!

Pam said...

I love this- Taking time to reflect on the positive can really bring a new light to things! I love organizing and reflecting and then coming into things with a new perspective! And it looks like you have shared some wonderful activities with the children!

Kierna C said...

wow, you have done so much with this class when you reflect on it! Well done you & I hope next month is even more fun for you all. You are right of course we are blessed to have such opportunities in our lives, keep up the great work, Brenda!

Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

Great activities! Love the scarecrows and sensory bun! Such wonderful hands on fun! Your children are lucky to have you!
Thanks for sharing!

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Thank you for checking in to each of you, and for your kind comments.

I agree, taking time to reflect is so helpful. Sometimes when we're caught up in the moment, we can't seem to see any positives.

I always appreciate your friendly comments, and good ideas!!

Well, thanks!!
Happy Halloween to you and Cassie!!