I apologize in advance for saying this, but a week is just not long enough. I am talking about vacation of course! Now that summer is finally here and we can enjoy the hot days and the warm nights with great glee, it seems that time is just flying by! Leaving in just a few days for my own excursion on a sandy beach I can honestly say that everyone deserves the break, both mentally and physically, especially early childhood educators who labor with love to children in their care day in and day out.
Although we all do our best to stay recharged and unsullied the truth is that there is just no replacing time away from the day to day life of our jobs. For some of us, it takes even longer to relinquish the guilt we feel when taking the time that we need and more importantly deserve, but it is beneficial for all involved, even the smiling and happy children who greet you with joy upon your return. I can also personally attest to the fact that it doesn’t take long for that “just returned from vacation freshness” to dissipate and the days to become long and tedious again.
The children in you care are also excited about summer, some vacationing and some not, and yearn for the same escape that we do. But who says you can’t take a vacation while in the classroom too? You can! Never underestimate the power and potential of the imagination! Some of my favorite trips have taken place on a red circle carpet in the safety of my classroom surrounded by eager and excited three-year-olds. We have traveled by plane, train, car and bus and have ventured around the world visiting different countries, observing diverse people and investigating famous landmarks. This type of travel requires the littlest of maintenance but contains mind-blowing possibility and let me just tell you, the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of “Pizza” were breathtaking.
You can make this the simplest of activities, by learning a few French words and bringing a baguette in to sample. Come on, we all can fake a French accent for a few moments while we stroll the streets in Paris in a beret. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be inspired. Let your imagination and even more so, your children guide the journey. Remember that your interest and enthusiasm is the most contagious piece!
Ask open ended questions, challenge them to create and explore and entertain even the craziest of ideas! I mean, how much fun would it be to try and ride a camel while eating chicken nuggets to the see the pyramids in Egypt? Let’s try it! What do we need? Where would we go? Who would go with us? What will we see? Every question, every answer, every moment is a learning opportunity and the possibilities are endless. Need a break? Recharge and revamp your classroom with an imaginary voyage and just see where you end up!