For the last week we have been on Spring Break at our school. We understand that for some parents, this is inconvenient, but what we do takes so much time and energy and we need breaks to refocus and rest. Spring break is always much needed, not because we don’t like what we do, but because our brains need a break. We spend all week looking after young children, planning and implementing lessons (thanks to Mother Goose Time, most of our lessons are already prepared for us), answering emails, cleaning, budgeting, menu planning, and grocery shopping (and no, that’s not all ).
We think about the following week, the following school year, special activities, and extra things we can do to help the young children in our care succeed (and no, that’s still not all).
It takes a lot to keep a licensed childcare center running. And if you are like us and share a space, our weekends are cut short due to setting up our center on Sunday’s. This means family time is cut short. Burn out is very real in the world of education. Breaks allow us time to re-charge. Spring break offers time to catch up with our own families. We get to spend quality time together, check-in with one another, and create more memories together.
Self-care is vital. When you spend most of your days looking after everyone else, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Educator’s tend to put everyone else before themselves, and breaks allow us time to take a step back and do something for ourselves. Not to mention, educator’s don’t stop thinking about their jobs just because they are on a break, they think about fresh ideas to start implementing as soon as they return. We really do love what we do, and we certainly have earned the breaks we have scheduled.
Educator’s shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a break – it is part of self-care and we have certainly worked hard for it. Here are some highlights from how some of our staff spent their Spring Break with friends and family!
We love that Mother Goose Time sends Portfolio Dividers with each unit. It is fun looking back on each unit throughout the year and the dividers help us remember all that we have learned, and what work went with which unit. These are found in Lesson 20 of each theme. We like to pull these out right away and get them in their portfolios so as we go through the unit and are collecting work samples we can put them in their portfolio right away – doing this makes it easy to keep up with a portfolio for each child!
With each new unit, we have a Continuum of Skills poster that shows how we will be meeting the National Standards for Early Childhood throughout the month. When there is a star, that is a prompt for the teacher to collect a work sample, take a note on how the child approached the activity, or even take a picture of the work being done to add to the portfolio.
In Pre-K, we have the portfolios sitting on their writing shelf. They love looking through their portfolios every so often and seeing their work. We try to collect art and writing samples for each month, along with pictures! It is so fun to see how their work progresses over time!
We use 1-inch white binders for their portfolio’s, make a cover page that lists our school, the year, their name, and then we put their hand prints on it. The portfolio’s come in handy during Parent/Teacher conferences, when we want to show parents what their child has been working on. The parents love looking through their work samples and seeing the photos. We send the portfolio’s home at the end of the year. They make a special keepsake!
As we mentioned in our previous blog post, we did some rearranging last week. We combined two smaller groups within our center (our Wobblers and Toddlers) and it has made for an interesting dynamic for sure. It is so fun to see our younger children engaging in dramatic play, building, and art, while our older children have enjoyed exploring more large motor opportunities than they previously had available.
They now have a much larger space that is closer to outdoor access. That makes us all very happy!
Our Wobblers (12-24 months) were working hard on sharing space and parallel play, and they were using the “Experience Baby” curriculum set. Our Toddlers (24-30 months) used the “Little Goose” supplement and were learning the structure of a classroom with Circle Time and Activities. Now this class is doing some of both! This opens up new opportunities and experiences for all of the children in the group, while meeting the needs, interests, and capabilities of each one. The teachers can divide up the group and do separate activities with the different ages, or they can combine and all work on one task.
We all enjoyed decorating the Doctor Bags (Make and Play) and taking care of our bears on Thursday. (Health week, February MGT “Health and Fitness”). It is so fun to see how much empathy and compassion these little people already possess.
The younger children are welcome to join Circle Time, but are free to come and go as they need to. The older children are encouraged to join in with stories and songs, and because they were used to doing Circle Time already, they set a good example for the younger ones.
It has been so fun to see this class take shape. We love that the Mother Goose Time program is so versatile and there is always something for everyone. The activities are fun, engaging and easily adaptable for a mixed group, such as ours. Having a combined group does present its own challenges, but they are really getting the hang of it. Nice job, Littles!