June 10, 2019

A day in the life: Pre-K teacher edition

Contributed by: Heather Dobson, Pre-K Teacher

It’s 7:45 am and another one of my students just arrived. He’s greeted with boisterous good mornings and hugs from friends.  Almost immediately, a friend takes his hand to show him how much our classroom plants grew overnight.

“Look at how much this one has grown! It’s coming out from the hole!” In that moment, uncontrollable giggles and laughter ensues.

 

 

The boys race to me and pull me over to share the news. One of the boys looks at the other container, shrugs her shoulders, looks at me with a button lip and says, “but the snips aren’t growing yet!” Our classroom planted cherry tomatoes and parsnips. Inside, I’m melting!

Moments later, Easton excitedly exclaims “Guess what Miss Heather!? Do you want to see a magic trick?!?”

Of course I do, so Easton takes his hat off and places it over the Thomas the Train toy sitting on the table. Slyly, he flips a switch on the train and – MAGIC! His hat walks across the table!

His eyes fill with pride at his ability to impress me with his magic and I laugh because I am beyond impressed! We decide he should do it again so I can take a video to share the trick with his parents on his daily report.

Slowly we begin to gather on the rug for Circle Time. In our classroom, each day one student takes a turn being our “busy butterfly” – helping with calendar, sharing the crayon for our morning message and question of the day activity, and choosing a special story for us to read that day. Today, it’s Rashmit’s turn to be our “busy butterfly”.

 

 

She teaches her friends the day of the week and how to count on the calendar. Then, she begins to underline each of the words in the morning message.

“There’s a space between each word!” She exclaims, beaming with pride at her lightbulb moment.

I do my best to stop and breathe this moment in – my heart is so happy!

 

 

Circle time begins to wind down and our class prepares to head outside – it’s a beautiful day!

Once outside, I notice a group of children running on “all fours” like animals.  I inquire and get a spirited answer:

“We’re nocturnal animals! We’re pretending to be wolves!”

 

Our class just talked about nocturnal animals last week, during our Day and Night learning theme.

Then I hear Addie say, “Look I’m an owl!” She’s pretending the basketball hoop is a tree with a hole in it. Sydney says “me too” and pretends the art easel is her tree to perch on.

I pause again, so grateful I have a front row seat for these magical moments.

 

 

Over by the playground, I notice Mr. Kyle immersed in imagination with his students who are taking turns going down the slide.

“Where are you headed today?” My Kyle asks as Travis approaches the top of the slide. “Mars” declares Travis!

“Buckle your seatbelt and get ready….initiating launch in 5,4,3,2,1 blast off!” Mr. Kyle says and away he zooms down the slide with smiles and laughter.

 

 

Being part of a team of peers who share my passion for early childhood education inspires me. And sometimes, it’s just a change in environment (like being outside) that helps us, adults and children, notice things in a brand new way.

We’ve had a very full morning. After we finish lunch together, I slow our pace by turning down the lights and putting calming, instrumental music on.  I lay out a mat for each child and begin yoga poses.

Mountain, happy baby, ragdoll while singing “Rock a Bye Baby”.

Side bends while singing “Moon, Moon, Moon”.

Star pose during “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. As we finish, we give ourselves a hug and say “good night me”.

It’s rest time so I begin to sing a lullaby that was passed down by my grandmother, and that my parents used to sing to me.

Ah! My heart is smiling!

Later in the afternoon, Ethan and I are playing together. We have sensory beads, water, and Styrofoam cups with holes poked in the bottom to make it “rain” on our people figures.

“Tut, tut looks like rain!” I say.

Ethan brought a new Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal in for naptime today, so I ask “Do you know who says that?

Pooh Bear!”

His eyes widen, he looks to his cubby and replies, “Hey! I have Pooh Bear in my cubby!”

 

 

I do my best to pause again. This is one of my highlights today. The joy Ethan felt from this personal connection was contagious. I knew I got into Ethan’s heart in that moment because I took the time to notice something near and dear to him.  I’ll remember this for sure!

“Hey, Miss Heather do you want to come to my house? I have popcorn there!” Ethan exclaims

About fifteen minutes later he excitedly comes over to show me what he built with some plastic connecting tubes. “Look Miss Heather, I built a popcorn machine that we could use if you come over and have popcorn at my house!” He proceeds to explain how to use the popcorn machine, where to put in the kernels and where the popcorn will come out.

 

 

I pause again and reflect on how just one little moment transformed into such an impactful experience with Ethan.

And just like that, it’s time to go! I clock out for the day, grab my purse, and head back into the classroom to grab my water bottle. As I enter the classroom, I receive a crowd of outstretched arms racing in for goodbye hugs. The. Best. I happily take in armfuls and leg-fuls of hugs, head out the door to my car and look back, from the parking lot, to see their faces in the window, waving goodbye.

 

 

I pause one more time, long enough to breathe in this moment of sweetness, and now I’m already anxious to return the next morning.