Managing and teaching in a shelter child center

Archive for the ‘toddler’ Category

Ice is nice!

Today we did the ice experiment. It was really fun. and some of the conversations were just funny. But then, with three year old children, it always is.

F0r people who have never done the ice project, its really easy and pretty fun as long as you don’t mind freezing dyed water and/or messes. *giggle* Its really only the following:

  • First prepare tables by putting down four towels and placing  trays on each.
  • Put blocks of ice into basins and put a basin on each tray.
  • Put colored water into jars and put eye droppers (pipettes) and jars next to each basin (on the tray).
  • Get a couple of “tunnels” started in the ice blocks, so there will be a place for the colored water to go . (If the children don’t choose to just squirt the water at each other)
  • Add four children, one for each tray  =)

The main goal (since one always has to be stated) is to observe what happens when colored water is added to ice.

Some of the comments were “does it hurt?” “Looks, It lighted up!” And it did look that way. “It looks like that thing at the bottom of the ocean. (coral reef.)

I have to say, “It lighted up!” was my favorite. When the block of Ice was pressed down against the basin, it did look like it was lighting. I had never seen that effect before. Totally cool!

Snail Tree..

Yesterday when we went for a walk after lunch one of the girls stopped at a tree and started staring at the  trunk. She was looking at something my level, so I checked it out. It was a tiny shining black snail. A “baby shnail”. Other children came over to explore the snail. I looked up and saw that wasn’t the only snail.There were snails of all kinds of sizes, and and colors. Some were hanging upside down in groups, some a lone. But the whole tree was pretty much covered! I wouldn’t have noticed though, if that child hadn’t found the first one.

Its important to pay attention to what children may be looking at. You can see amazing things that you may not even have noticed otherwise. They truly can give you a whole different perspective on the world.

sensory fun!

Today was yucky  day. And that’s actually a good thing. Today we experimented with different kinds of sensory experiences. Things like “What’s in this bag”, Gak, Clean Mud, Sand and water tables,  shaving cream and food coloring and some games like a balancing contest, snakes and snake charmers, Turtle and Rabbits, cross the room like a ________,and the ever popular “Seals on the bus”. (Wheels on the Bus goes on a field trip and accidentally pick up some seals) This activity also includes some of the animal poses, as the seals first leave the zoo and go to a farm.

Obviously we did different activities with the cruisers, but it was along the same lines.  And yes, we took our guarders into consideration. For every messy activity, there was a non-messy alternative. But one thing I noticed is that some of the guarderes, when they realised they would be given a choice,were at least willing to attempt some of the “neater” messy activities. Like when they learned “clean mud” is soap. Some didn’t have a problem with soap, and got more into this activity than they have gotten into others. And as long as the teacher paid attention, and let them quit when they had enough there were few upset children.
I will post some pictures when I have sorted them. I have to make sure none have children in them that the parent doesn’t want.

We have water!!

I know. Probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal, right? You turn on the faucet and get water that is perfectly safe to drink. Well, for us, not so much. The water at my center was so contaminated that after being filtered three times there were still particles of metal in it. And quite honestly, it looked more like something that belonged in a toilet.

But now we have real clean drinkable water.In all 18 water fountains! Whoo-hoo!!!!!  So we aren’t giving the kidlets lead to drink anymore. Can you say yay??

It also helps with licensing. Because now the drinking fountains aren’t a violation. There are still few of them, but we are in an old building  within another agency that have their own regullations so I can’t fix that ,yet. Don’t worry. I will!

Graduations Part 2

Yesterday was our first ever graduation!  It was wonderful. And definitely an emotional day.

It was held in our class, since the class is in a multipurpose gym. But it was decorated way differently than usual. We went all out for those four children. Caps, gowns, certificates, The whole nine yards. We even got them “kinder-packs”. (more on those later.)

The “ceremony” itself was brief. all the pre-k kids  sang the Winnie the Pooh song for the parents, the four graduates were brought to the back of the room and sort of bounced up to the front in a clump.Since  they’re 5, lines don’t quite happen yet. =) . Each child took their certificate, and joined the parents. a total of 15 minutes, I believe.

But it’s still one of those moments that you remember for being special. I will probably remember the smiles , the looks of pride that they had done something. (although they may not be clear on exactly what yet.) One child had their cap on sideways. One girl tripped on her gown. One skipped down the aisle singing I’m graduating, graduating, graduating. And knowing these particular kids makes it all the more meaningful. I just hope that some day, they will be doing the exact same thing for high school. Or maybe even college.

Now back to the kinder-packs. Each child got a backpack with the uniform for the school they will be going to, a uniform (all slightly large, since the kids will likely grow in two months),some books, two pairs of shoes, jackets, crayons, paper, and whatever was on that school’s kinder list. Also there were some toys. Also there was a card for each, saying how great it was having them in my class, and when they go to kinder, they can still come to my room for after school.

Grass-An infant’s experience

Okay. Sometimes it really is the simple things that can be the most interesting.sometimes when we go on our picnic days a lot of bigger school kids had the same idea. So I have to keep the infants and younger toddlers on the grass so they won’t get trampled by the older kids. dogs, however, well…. that’s a whole other blog!

Anyway, I’ve written before about the varies ways infants handle their first  (or at least first for a while) grass experiences. Some love it, some hate it, some don’t give it a second thought, and some consider it part of their lunch. But today I’m going to talk about just one child and her grass experience.

Karla(name changed to protect the innocent) has never come out with us before. She is one of the children I worry about. So limp and floppy and unengaged with everything. One of those children that has no light in their eyes at all, and I wonder what horror she might be seeing instead of what is really in front of her. She had to come with usthat day, because the only other care giver she reacts to at all was out sick.

I sat with her flopped in my lap while we watched other kids playing with toys on the blanket we had brought. I saw that she was really watching too. and she was tracking the two other children her age who were rolling balls on the grass. So I got an idea. Maybe she would connect with the grass. I picked a couple of blades and held them for her to look at, explaining grass as best I could. (With infants, you learn to describe all kinds of things you take for granted) I brushed it lightly in her hand,expecting her to scream. She didn’t. She reached for it.

So then I took off her socks and let her brush her feet against it. Not pushing down,or forcing her to stand on it. She put one foot down, pulled it up, looked at me,and did the same thing again. Over and over. If we were having a conversation, it may have been something like this: Karla”I don’t know about this.”

Me”It’s okay. go ahead”

Karla(pulling toes back in)”nope”

Me” go ahead.”

Karla “are you sure about this?”

I think she wanted to make sure that I was there. That I didn’t mind it and that I wasn’t going to let anything happen to her if she changed her mind and wanted off. Eventually she did put both feet down for about three seconds. And she smiled for the first time that I’ve seen in the three months we’ve worked together.

  • Picnick days (littleshelterpreschoolthatcan.wordpress.com)

Gradiations! =D

Translation, Graduations!

Yes, 4 of my pre-k students who had the most challenges and would have been the most likely allowed to defer for an extra year have been accepted to kindergarten. For these four children the step into kindergarten is more like a giant leap. Not only are they all homeless, but they all have physical and emotional challenges that they average 5 year old doesn’t have. 3 of the 4 were unable to to do basic personal care when they arrived. And all were unable to socially younger than their ages. But all of them made it!

I’m embarrassed to say we almost missed it. Somewhere along the line we didn’t pay attention to how far they were progressing. It wasn’t until this morning, when I finally sat down and went over every ones progress cards that these 4 children met and even exceeded all the benchmarks to begin K-1. (our district is doing the experimental 2 part kinder)

So now I am about to notify 4 parents that their child will  be entering the “normal” school world, where they will be just like everyone else for a change. =) .It was only two weeks ago that on of the families was expressing their concerns that their child would never make it to non-specialized schools. And yes, I am also sending complete referrals to the schools with the education plans to continue the outstanding progress they are making.

I used to think that those big pre-k and pre-school graduations were silly. But now I am preparing one for my kids.=) I am trying to find four tiny cap and gown sets, and designing little certificates. Because this is what the other pre-k’s in my area are doing. And my pre-k’s are going to be like everyone else. Silly and over done? probably. But for kids who always feel inadequate and are always hearing, “sorry but we can’t afford..” it will mean the world.

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