Managing and teaching in a shelter child center

Posts tagged ‘Childcare’

Water makes it better.

Water play is great for my very wild Porcupine class. But we can’t afford the water toys that all the slick magazines advertise. There is no way we could get a fancy draining water table either. But we are the preschool that can, and nothing stops the porcupines! We solved the issue fast.

First, we went to McDonald and asked them for some trays that they were getting rid of. Then we went to the Dollar tree and stocked up on plastic animals, plastic beads, marbles and such.We also bought four large basins, about the size that fits in the sink. Then we went through the collection of old toys, measuring cups of different sizes, water bottles and like objects. The bead necklaces were cut, so they were all different lengths,varying from 3 beads to half of the necklace.  (maybe 15-20 beads).

Then the fun begins. We set up four places at the table, each with a tray, a towel and a basin of warm water with that days items in it. The items can be everything from  a water bottle, a cup, a handful of glass rocks, shells, pony and troll dolls, the beads,sponges and plastic animals. Sometimes we add extra treats to the water. We may add soap, that they won’t notice till it starts bubbling as they play. Or it may have tinting from dye, either blue, purple, of pink. We don’t use yellow, because it triggers one of the kids with autism, and green stains too much.

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.

Shelter stats,part 2

This is the debate where I live. there is so little funding that everyone’s fighting over slivers of the pie.I am trying to find out if others think we are a legitimate childcare/preschool center, and can therefore try for grants. We are already licensed, so we are recognized on the legal side. It’s the ECE community we seem to have some issues with.

LEGAL

we now meet the requirements for licensing. Not only that, but we’re close to accreditation, too. This is a huge step! it puts us on the same level as “real” child centers. Not that we aren’t a child center. we were just never recognised,because we opperate within the shelter system, not the childcare system. They have decided that we are a cross between a center and a family childcare home. I don’t care what they call it. Its the recognition that we are working for kids that counts!

Aside

Haven’ t poste…

Haven’ t posted much lately. But that’s only because I’ve been so busy. Lots of good things have been happening to the center. YAY! Trust me, there will be LOTS of posts and updates in the future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aside

Haven’ t poste…

Haven’ t posted much lately. But that’s only because I’ve been so busy. Lots of good things have been happening to the center. YAY! Trust me, there will be LOTS of posts and updates in the future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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