As we are 3 weeks into the school year, the children and the teachers are finding their groove. With the teachers I have been fortunate enough to have working at KSELC, it’s as easy as apple pie!
Ms. Suzi returned to us this year, bringing along her love for all things manipulative. Getting those little fingers moving, pressing, pinching, opening, closing, rubbing, clasping… developing the intricate musculoskeletal systems for prewriting. Her expertise means she not only values the importance of it, but she also knows how to make it fun for this age group.
New to us this year is Miss Anne. Warm, kind, loving, vibrant and caring, she is heaven sent – (via Ruth Purdy-Dyer at AIS Magnet School. Thank you, Ruth!) Anne has stepped into her role with grace and aplomb. She is a treasure!
The addition of Anne translates to our ability to increase enrollment and still offer the high quality, low ratio attention to detail that sets this program apart. We are able to know each child well, so that their individual needs are first and foremost. We guide each child in a gentle way that respects who and where they are, while exploring the world around them. Here is an example of what that might look like:
During a play dough activity, D helps herself to some of V’s play dough. V begins yelling and crying. Miss Anne offers, by way of conversation,
“V, I see that you are upset. What’s happening?”
V replies, “She took my play dough!”
“Do you know her name?”
“Uh-uh. No! She! She took it, and it’s mine!”
“Well, that’s not very friendly. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe she didn’t realize that pile was yours.Can you look at D and say to her, ‘D, you took my playdough!’ “
As best she can, without looking at D, V says “You took my play dough!”
Miss Anne gently instructs both children to stop what they’re doing, and take a moment to look at one another. (This, in and or itself, can often be a challenge with this age group. It takes skill and patience on the part of the teacher.) Both children respond appropriately to this request, and then Miss Anne repeats to V what she might say to D, which V does, and D says “I’m sorry,” and they resume play, and all is well. Until the next time. At which time, Miss Anne or Miss Suzi or I will facilitate the same conversation again. And we will do it for as many times as necessary, for as many children as necessary.
Eventually, the children will start these exchanges on their own, some sooner than others. And that’s okay, because, like apples, each child is unique, each one requires patience. Some ripen early, and are ready for the next step. Others will stay on the tree a bit longer. And it works, because, though apple pie is a tad easier, each one brings something wonderful to one another, and to us!