I was looking through the Sunday ads in the newspaper this past weekend and I noticed that back-to-school advertisements are in full force. New glue sticks and scissors, notebooks and pencils are all part of the back-to-school rituals at my house. I was talking with a good friend of mine about the trials and tribulations of sending kids back to school with the myriad of supplies that need to be purchased. She doesn’t have children who are old enough for elementary school yet. She does however have a 3 year-old son so I asked if she was planning to send him to preschool this year. Her answer surprised me. She said that she didn’t think he was ready. And that got me thinking, who needs to be ready, the preschool or the preschooler?
As a former classroom teacher for children ages 3 – 5, I spent many hours preparing the environment for the children who were enrolled in my classroom. I worked hard to have a safe space with materials that were interesting and engaging. I planned my lessons by starting with the knowledge of what children who are ages 3 – 5 should be able to do and what I hoped they would be able to do by the time they left to go to kindergarten. For all children who entered my room, my hope was that they came to play each day so that I could get to know them and plan things that were of interest to them. I hoped that they had a change of clothes just in case we found ourselves immersed in something messy. I hoped that they learned to love learning. I hope that I challenged them to try something new.
I believe that it was my responsibility to be prepared for the children who came each day.
So as you look forward to a new set of children in your classroom this year, I hope you take time to be ready for them. Happy New School Year!
This year my new year’s resolution was not to make a new year’s resolution. It’s probably not what you are thinking–it’s not because I know I will inevitably break it by January 31, it’s because I am looking at my new year differently. Instead of choosing one lofty thing to fix, I am evaluating the strengths in my life. Yes, strengths. Not weaknesses. My number one strength, as determined by the VIA Institute, is curiosity. I looked back at 2010 with a critical eye and evaluated what I did to nurture this strength. How did I use my strength in relationships, at work and in my personal life? I realized that I could have been more fulfilled last year if I had spent more time asking my friends what they were up to, and how they were doing. I mean really doing. In the past my curiosity about people had led to many deep and satisfying relationships, unfortunately the one thing that I did not make time for in 2010. So, now I have a personal action plan that actually schedules in this valuable time, and at the end of 2011 I will be able to reflect and see if I am indeed more fulfilled.
As you are perhaps working on your professional development plan or quality improvement plan for your early childhood program, take the time to reflect on what you do well. What are you (or your program) known for? Some would call this “your niche.” How are you making sure you are not losing what makes you and your program unique?
So as you begin your 2011 personal action plan, consider doing a self-evaluation. What do you want more of? More time? More peace? More job satisfaction? I believe if you nurture your strength, that main thing that gets you up in the morning, many of these other things will fall into place. You will need to plan for ways to accomplish this. I have been challenged to choose one word to define my year as opposed to identifying a resolution, and my word for 2011 is curiosity… what is your one word? I’m curious – let me know!