Mom’s Day Lunch

You know the school year is nearing the end when our class hosts our annual Mom’s lunch.  Our school has an open door policy and friends and family can visit and spend time in the classroom any time they like but our special Mom’s lunch is the one they look forward to the most.

For about two week before the big day, the class is busy preparing special items for their Mom’s.  The highlight of the goodies comes in the form of a Mom’s portrait, a Mom’s dolls and keepsake box.

You can tell the children are interested and engaged in these projects because of the on topic chatter and the attention to detail in their Mom’s portaits.  The Mom’s dolls were also amazing.  The dolls are actually quite complicated and use multi-step directions from cutting out the doll form, to adding clothing, drawing appropriate facial features, gluing down hair and adding a monogramed necklace.  Each one is an original piece of art.  The last project entails making a keepsake box to hold special treasures.

Our school is lucky enough to have involved parents and each child had a Mom take the time from their day to come to class.  The children were out of control with excitment but eventually we made our way to the tables were everyone enjoyed eating together.

Our children are so lucky to have parents that care about them and you can feel the love.  It was a great day!

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Whose dream is it anyway?

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Yesterday I received a text from one of my very dear friends and she wanted to know if I had a picture of our two daughters when they took ballet together when they were around 5 years old.  When she asked my first response was, “I doubt it” since I did not record a lot of childhood memories as the iPhone wasn’t invented yet and my camera abilities were zero to none.  But, I told her I’d look.

I pulled out my version of a photo album.  It is basically a 3 ring binder that houses a big loose pile of pictures in between two covers.  There I sat looking through some of the old good times our family had together.  There were a few pictures of a much younger me, my husband and our beloved Border Collie, Jake, along with a pretty good progression of the early years of my children.

After more rummaging, I saw a glimpse of pink.  I pulled the picture from the pile and lo and behold, there it was.  A dark photo of my daughter and her friend in pink leotards. It was nostalgic, for sure.

After one session of ballet, my daughter was completely over it.  It wasn’t in her nature to be pink and frilly and she did not want to do anything that even remotely resembled being lithe and graceful. Eventually, she exchanged her tutu for a soccer ball.

Not in the cards for this girl!

Not in the cards for this girl!

In the early years, it is important to expose children to many different types of activities and I can confidently say I’m an expert in this area.  Within the past 5 years, my son participated in football, skateboarding, basketball, soccer, wakeboarding, and 2 more visits to soccer and basketball and in that process, he opted to break 8 bones.  Not an ideal situation, but those experiences are now a part of his make-up and he loves to tell his war stories.

My point is, let children explore all avenues of extracurricular activities.  See what they like and what they excel in.  During my days on the soccer field there was persistent chatter from parents bragging about how fabulous a player their child was and how they will only play for a Div. 1 school.  That is all fine and dandy if that is what your child wants not you.

A good rule of thumb is to check-in with reality and your child once in a while to re-evaluate whose dream it is to become the next prima ballerina or World Cup soccer star.

Children have the gift of time to test their likes and dislikes in extracurricular activities.  Why not let them be the star of their own show.

Have you filled a Bucket Today?

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The first day of school and then again about once a month thereafter, I introduce the book, Have you filled a Bucket Today – a Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by author Carol McCloud.  This book was given to me several years ago by a parent that used it at home with her own children and thought it would make a great addition to the classroom.  Actually, I believe she bought a copy of the book for every class so the children begin learning about being Bucket Fillers or Bucket Dippers from an early age.

If you are not already familiar with the story, it shows how everyone in the world carries an invisible bucket and by being nice and doing small kindnesses for someone they “fill up their bucket” with good feelings.  However, if you are unkind or hurtful to someone, you become a Bucket Dipper and take away the good feeling that person is carrying around with them.  It’s a simple concept that is easy for children and adults to carry out and understand.

After reading the story, we usually brainstorm ideas on being Bucket Fillers.

bucket filler suggestions

As children grasp the idea of being Bucket Fillers, I  introduce the Bucket Filler Note.

bucket filler note

Throughout the day and without prompting, a child can come up and tell me something they did  that helped a classmate.  I write it on a Bucket Filler note and hold it until the end of the week where we read all the notes out loud.  This is actually one of the best parts of this idea because there is a lot of clapping, congratulating and whooping as I read each child’s note.  Finally, the notes find a place taped to the classroom door.

We’ve used this system since August and the door is half way full of Bucket filler notes.  I forgot to take a photo but will post one once I can get a decent inside shot with my iPhone.

Another great book I use is The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper and illustrated by Gabi Swiatowska.  The illustrations in this book are so soft and soothing that the children love to read it over and over.

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I’m a great conversationalist and love to read your comments.

 

Welcome

thCA3X01BKWelcome to The Preschool Mentor – bringing out the best in young children

I have been a preschool teacher for the past 14 years.  First as an assistant and then as a lead teacher in a classroom of five-year olds.  The skill set in any early childhood classroom varies greatly so it is important to meet the needs of each child where they are at any given time.  However, I also admit to trying to squeeze just a bit more from each of them every day.

The Preschool Mentor is my way of brainstorming and sharing ideas with other early childhood educators.  I  may not always know what I’m doing or make the right decision in any given situation, but it is always my intention to give each child a running start into a lifelong love of learning.

I’m a good conversationalist so please feel free to leave a comment below.