Managing and teaching in a shelter child center

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.


definitely back in session!

Although we’re year round 7 day a week care, we have officially “opened after summer. hectic as usual.

I know that there will be endless debate about technology in preschool. And I have to say that I am very against the “Plop the kids in front of a screen” method. This has very little benefit (in my opinion).

However I found a very good use for Technology in preschools. It may even save a culture. But I have to start at the beginning for that to make sense.  I am Native American. I go back to my reservation every summer for two weeks. I have noticed that our language and stories and many of our ways of life have all but disappeared.

One of our “Grandmothers agreed to be part of a project that uses technology to preserve culture. She told all our old stories to the children at “circle times”  and had them recorded. She also spoke of the history she remembered, and the things she used to do, and the foods that were eaten, and the old ways of life.

It was a huge hit! The children loved having someone talk to them, and play music and dance  with them, and teach them things. It was fun to have an honorary gramma for two weeks! And Gramma loved being with the children and continuing the old way. In the end we had over 200 videos, photos and voice recordings filled with an almost lost culture. We are now trying to come up with even more ways of using them, maybe having my brother (who designs apps and games) come up with preschool appropriate apps.

What makes this even more important, is that shortly after I left, the honorary Gramma we had died. But she left us the gift of language,culture and a community that very often gets lost in the shuffle.

But there is another benefit of this technology. I can take it back to San Francisco. I can use it to teach my homeless city children about a whole different way of life. I can teach other children the importance of culture. Theirs as well as mine. They can learn about children they have never met. It can show them how to preserve their cultures.


September is childhood cancer awareness month. Gold is the color for the childhood cancer awareness ribbon. Every September I go gold on everything. This is sort a warning for people who may not want to hear a lot about childhood cancer and cancer awareness.
Many children at my center are cancer warriors, or cancer survivors. I do this not only for me, but to spread awareness to them. There seems to be so little awareness for such a huge disease!


Christams in August.

As I have mentioned before, I get completely overwhelmed when people show kindness. I’m not sure why. Maybe because of things that happened in my past. But anyway I digress. What I want to talk about is the overwhelming kindness of the people that provided our Christmas in August. Partially I’m surprised because we had just had our Back to school fest, and over 100 companies and community groups donated to that. So the children were already overwhelmed with new school supplies, clothing and coats.

But Christmas in August was different. It focused more on the personal needs needs not only of the children, but their families. They also donated the time and materials to fix up the classrooms, Toddler and infant area, parent nook, and staff room. At least that’s what I was told.

So we were served breakfast in the multipurpose/classroom early, so that they could set up the “Boutique” of gifts that all residents received. They includes, complete bedding sets for each person in the room (with all kinds of kids patterns and adults patterns) home items, night wear, including bathrobes and slippers, towels, hygiene items,Under garments, one complete winter outfit, jackets, socks, one professional outfit for job interviews or church, Books, toys, boardgames, umbrellas and I’m not sure what else. A lot.

Each person brought their family’s items to their rooms and we went out for the day. The choices were a day spa, a giants game, a movie, or tickets for an art exhibit at the museum of modern art. (I had the spa=) ). While we were out, they did a thorough deep cleaning of each room, putting on the new bedding and putting the boxes of household stuff where they could be seen. Stuffed animals and dolls and art supplies were left on beds, shoes lined up along the walls, etc.

The classrooms were reorganized with matching natural wood furniture (child sized), new manipulatives/puzzles and games were put on the shelves. New blocks joined the old ones, and there are now way more people and animals to add to their creations. We also have a smartboard in our pre-k class!!!!!!

I didn’t know that my family was going to be included. I also didn’t know that the reason people had been asking me what my dream office would look like was not just because they were curious about the remodeling I had started. I went to my office to pick up some paperwork that I can do while I’m still on leave. it had been transformed beyond the office of my dreams! The furniture is new. The cabinets are wheelchair level, so I don’t have to stretch and worry about knocking all my files on my head. (Yes, I have been known to do that!). The stairs both into the office and into my connecting restroom have been replaced by a ramp. there is a small basketball hoop over the wastepaper basket, and its painted my favorite blue and green combination. I even have a window!!! I didn’t know that, because I used to have a gigantic locked filing cabinet right in front of it. They have lovely lace curtains on them. White, but with a hint of really pale blue. Plus a working fan. Yes, My jaw about hit the floor. I sat there in tears for several minutes before going was truly the office of my dreams, including the terrarium ( currently empty. )

So I got the paperwork and headed to my room. And had another jaw dropping moment. I got the complete bedding set too!!! And another set of lovely curtains on newly cleaned and streak free windows. they made the most important accessibility fixes and some that are way more than I would have thought of. They separated an area for me,away from the kids. They opened up the door that led to the next room, so there is now a true children’s room, decorated to their taste. They fixed the closet door. They put tablecloths on the nightstands so they match the rest of the room. they cleaned everything. They even gave baggie the stuffed pain panther a knit hat, scarf and tail warmer. (because that’s what every stylish panther wears) There are bookshelves I can reach, too!

I’m sure I’m missing stuff in the description. It was on Friday, and I’m still overwhelmed by the kindness shown to our families, and to me! THANKS EVERYONE!

Not sure why I’m surprised when people do the right thing.

via Not sure why I’m surprised when people do the right thing.

But for some reason, I always am. So I have a lotof people to thank. As a result, this particular blog may seem like an Advertisement. its not. I am just truly grateful. SO here is an open letter

To all the Children’s Haven’s Angels, your kindness and generosity to the children in my center is amazing. I am so grateful I am speechless. I want to make sure that I thank you all.
First to our A. Nony Mouse angel that donated cash and kept our lights on last month. It was too much. I don’t even know who to thank. (Although I have an idea.) Putting that on the card was cute, buy the way!

Gladstone market, thanks for the rice, beans, tomatoes and kale! We had real food every day for two whole weeks! The kids are doing much better after having fruit and veggies instead of cake and not sure what all else.

Old Navy, Thanks for the uniforms for the older kids, and fall/winter outfits for the younger ones, infants and parents.

All u named stores that supplied back packs, school supplies. tech gadgets and toys, thank you, too. There were I believe over 100 of you and I don’t have the complete list.

Payless Shoes, thanks for the shoes, socks, hair things and jewelry.

University of the pacific school of dentistry, thanks for the dental work. The kids may not be thrilled about it now, but they will thank you later. =)
All of you have worked miracles for over 400 homeless kids and their families. I can never thank you enough

(Overwhelmed by your generosity) Teacher Turtle

%d bloggers like this: