Thursday, October 31, 2013

What's inside a pumpkin?

Teaching children is such a joy to me!  Even more than that, teaching two year olds is the most exciting thing to me! This is my first year teaching at Coastal Day School but I have had experience teaching two year olds before and when I was given the opportunity to teach this age group again, I was ecstatic!  It has been so exciting to already see the two year old class grow and learn new things.  I love that, what we as adults would think it is the simplest thing, they are so excited over.  The month of October we have been learning about the color orange and talking ALL about pumpkins.  We have talked about their shapes, texture, stems, and what is inside a pumpkin.  When we asked what was inside we got answers such as seeds, orange, water and even a few were convinced there was a pumpkin patch IN the pumpkin! I loved the creativity in children!   After we talked about and let the children play with the pumpkins we decided to cut into them.  They were finally able to see what was really in the pumpkin! After we gutted the pumpkin we created a sensory bucket of the seeds and “guts” for the children to be able to feel and play with it.  As an adult all I could think was “Ugh, this is gross,” or “Maybe I should just throw this out,” but as a teacher I HAD to let the children explore and I was so excited to watch them as they were learning.  I know this seems crazy to think that they were learning while they were just playing with the “guts” of the pumpkin but I was able to ask questions like “How does it feel?”  “What color is it?”  “What could you make with it?” “What do you think the seeds taste like?” After we asked all those questions they were able to actually taste the pumpkin seeds.  I toasted them and brought them back to school and with the AM snack I gave each of them an opportunity to taste them.  Of course they were a different texture so most of the children didn’t really care for them but I had a few that kept asking for more.  Most people probably would have no clue that so much learning could come from just a simple pumpkin but the children are beginning to learn the difference of bumpy or smooth,  tall or short, the color orange, and what a circle looks like.  As adults we have to remember that everything around us is a learning environment for children, we just have to let them learn and explore, even if that means getting the “guts” of the pumpkin all over us! J
-Shelley (Two Year Old Teacher)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I am the business, I am the client

When I started working at Coastal Day School, I was the Mommy’s Morning Out teacher and a mother of two boys, ages 4 and 1 ½.   My husband worked late afternoon into the evening, so while I was at work, he took care of our boys.  This was hard for me to leave my boys, but it was a great bonding experience for my husband with our boys. 
As other moms dropped off their children to me, I sympathized with them over how hard it is to leave your child and be able to walk away without worrying.  I made it my goal in that class to help every mom feel confident leaving their child and to take care of every child like I would want my own taken care of.  As a result, I really came to love the children in my care.  I had a regular group of mostly two year olds.  We worked on potty training, and taking turns with toys, learning how to put toys away, learning how to follow directions, art projects, and lots of play.  We had so much fun!
Two years later, my husband’s work schedule became normal 9-5 hours and we were thrilled to be expecting our third child.  As a result, I began working with Ashley in the office, training to take over all financial responsibilities.  My oldest headed off to Kindergarten and my younger son started attending Mommy’s Morning Out.  He had a difficult time adjusting, throwing tantrums, crying and screaming (Yes!  I have a screamer!).  The roles were suddenly reversed for me as I became the client.  I cannot even begin to say how grateful I am for this experience!  I saw such amazing growth and transformation as he received the same love and training that I had given my little group of kids.
My son went on to the four year old program and I worried if 5 days would be too much for him.  I remember Ashley saying to me, “Caroline, he needs this!  He will be fine.”  And she was so right.  I have never regretted sending him five days!  I watched my son learn so much so quickly!  I watched him transform socially overnight and become everyone’s friend.  I watched him loosen up and learn to dance at the Friday dance parties (one of my favorite things to watch!).  His experience left me feeling confident that he could go off to Kindergarten and be successful.  (He started Kindergarten this year and so far is doing great!)
Now my youngest is in Mommy’s Morning Out and she loves it!  And so do I!  Because I am an administrator as well as a parent at Coastal Day School, it gives me a unique perspective and has made me better at my job.  I really do understand what parents are going through especially some of those kids who have a harder time at first.  I get them!   I want every parent to walk out our doors knowing their child is being loved and taught by people who truly care about their children.  Because I work with these amazing women I know this is true.  I’m grateful for this because I’m a client too.
-Caroline (Financial Director and Mommy)
Caroline with her three sweet kiddos

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Preschool...the most magical years of life!!!!!

Preschool is an amazing place where magic happens. The teachers in a preschool are some of the most chipper, imaginative, and patient people you will meet. The students are more excited about learning than at any other age and parents are willing, loving, and interested in what is going on in class. Children learn so much and so fast at this age that it still amazes me after years of teaching preschoolers. Preschool years are the years children build their foundation and set their tone for learning. It is much easier to teach children a second or third language between the ages of 2 and 5 than it will be later. Preschoolers are willing to try anything to learn because they haven't learned humility or self-awareness yet and because of that, I believe, this is why they learn so quickly and easily. They aren't scared to make mistakes and jump back up and try again. 

With all of this favorite part of each and every day is the "AH-HA" the "magical" moment that happens with every child multiple times a day. I love when they finally learn the words to the song that we have been singing that week or can repeat the sound a letter makes when you show them different letters. I love that when you are done with every lesson the children clap and yell YAY!!!!  I love how proud they are of themselves after they have learned how to use the potty and no longer need to wear diapers. Before your very eyes they are learning and new worlds are opened up to them. I wish we all still had such enthusiasm about overcoming the little things...think about how much happier the world would be!

Preschoolers see EVERYTHING differently and with a love for life and learning that truly seems to be magical! 
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan
-Veronnica (Assistant Teacher in the two year old class)

Friday, October 11, 2013

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

As a child, I so looked forward to the last day of school so I could officially begin what was sure to be the BEST SUMMER EVER!!  And for the most part, each summer was even better than the last with vacations, pool days, and sleeping in. Well, things have changed. I have come to DREAD that last day of school along with the three months that follow. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pool day and look forward to vacation each summer, but that first day back to school can’t come fast enough for me. I love everything about the first day of school! I love seeing all the kids’ smiling faces (and the parents as they’re about to have four quiet hours for the first time in three months J), I  love seeing my staff excited for what’s to come, I love my school year routine, but mostly, I just love the newness! EVERYTHING is new! New backpacks, lunch boxes, crayons, clothes, and even new friends in our classrooms. It’s new and exciting and I just LOVE it! I know I drive Caroline crazy as I count down the days until our students are walking in the very first day. I find myself standing in the lobby imagining everyone chatting as they drop their child off. It really is my favorite time of year!! Now that we are a month into our new school year, things are so fun around here. Classrooms are calm and quiet as learning is going on and our playground is full of playing and giggles. We already have a few students well on their way to reading and we are quite impressed with several students’ math skills. As I sit here writing this, I can hear our four year old class dancing and laughing as the teacher is saying “sometime you just have to rock out!” I really love everything about our little school and mostly, I love our students and their families. We are so blessed. I am already dreading that last day of school but also looking forward to the months of fun and learning leading up to it.
-Ashley (owner and program director)
This is a photo I took on the first day of school of our very
first Kindergarten class!! So exciting!