It is Tuesday and this is a "Slice of Life" (SOLS) for Two Writing Teachers. Check out their website for lots more reflections on teaching.
I can't resist writing/sharing about the return to school...preschoolers, after a long winter break - 16 days apart (but who's counting?).
After winter break (or any long absence from school), I always plan a "soft landing" - lots of sensory fun, open-ended and exploratory play, and many favorite songs, dances, activities. The more familiar and easy-going the routine, the better the return to school.
This new year, the soft landing was particularly needed. On Saturday, I received the news that my Teaching Resident's (Melissa) flight was cancelled due to these horrendous winter storms and she wouldn't be able to return until Wednesday (tomorrow). This, on top of the knowledge that our Teaching Assistant (Claire) had scheduled leave until Thursday of this week. Yes, our three person team would feature only my smiling face on Monday - yesterday - at the children's return. Oh my.
Thankfully, we were able to have two 'tried and true,' happy, and familiar substitute teachers in place of Melissa and Claire. We would make it work!
I am amazed to write -
everything has gone so very, very well.
We have had two of the most delightful days of school all year.
It seems as if the children grow so much in this little bit of time.
Their faces beamed as they arrived at school yesterday - and everyone had big, big hugs for me. All were quite surprised to not see the other two beloved teachers, but, classmates and favorite activities smoothed away this disappointment, especially with the reassurance of their soon return.
How happy the children are to see each other! Their friendships, their enjoyment of one another have "snuck up on me" this year. This is a group of children who are strong individuals, as I've written about in at least one earlier post, and I have accepted this and worked hard to support it in our classroom. But, over winter break, their affection for one another grew and grew - for the past two days, they are not playing alone but in groups of two, three, and four. It is as if they have just discovered one another.
How delighted they are to be in our classroom and "be busy." It is their place, their home away from home - they know it and they love it. They have been busy, busy, busy with dramatic play and dress ups (playing 'doctor', 'pizza restaurant,' 'family and babies,' 'keep away from monsters,' and talking on pretend cell phones); building towers, cities, and ramps for balls; playing with puzzles, board games, counting bears; exploring ice, sand, play dough; writing letters and drawing pictures.
They are full of discovery and fun.
At closing today, Alyja asked - "Can't we play with gak?" and I said, "We don't have any time left today, and, actually, I don't think we have any made. Should we make some tomorrow?" "Yes! In the morning!" she replied and there was an immediate chorus of "Yeah!!" and "Yes" and "We're going to make gak!!" from the others.
Melissa and Claire are going to love being back with us!!