Monday, August 29, 2011

Half Teacher, Half Superhero

Today I came to a stark conclusion, a conclusion of realization and understanding. That I can not love and properly care for children if I do not love and properly care for myself. What can I possibly do for the growing and learning minds and bodies of these aspiring young toddlers; what use am I as a teacher if I am hacking, coughing and physically too tired and weak to do much more than cover my coughs to protect them from my germs? When my throat is too sore to speak, sing or laugh with them?

I now realize that my first and foremost duty to them is to provide a safe and clean environment for them that is conducive for their learning and growing experience. Their health and safety comes first. As any parent or childcare giver knows, runny noses and colds are a pretty normal occurrence in a childcare setting. Teachers and children get sick all the time. And for the most part, we teachers continue to come in and provide care and educational growth and development for the children in our care despite how bad we feel or the tickle in our throats. We smile, hug and push on. I am strong-willed, dedicated and passionate about my job and role as an early childhood teacher and caregiver, but I have my limits as well. It finally hit me, to give 110% of my all to a profession and career that I think is the most rewarding of all, I have to have 110% to give.

I guess even super heros need a break to recharge and regain their strength. With this realization, I lie in my bed on this early Monday morning with my box of tissues, cough medicines, lozenges and hot teas trying my best to get better, get healthier and get wiser.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Make your own water colors!!

This was a really fun science/art project we did in my class. (Sorry I don't have any class photos to go with it :( ) But here is what we did. My kids love to paint but like all things, it somehow always ends up in their mouths. So I decided we'd make our own water colors and they would get to help!

Here is what you need:

A variety of berries: Blackberries, raspberries, etc
wide bowl
large metal strainer
small cup (for smashing the berries)
paint smock

Note* room temperature berries are a lot easier to mash and produce more juice.

1. place the large metal strainer over a cup

2. put a berry in the strainer and smash it.

3. Continue until you have enough juice to paint with.

4. Have fun painting!! (and tasting)

My little ones really enjoyed the making of the berry water colors. I had a about seven children doing the activity. As you know, at one, patience is hardly one of their stronger characteristics! But they managed. One activity I added to the process was letting them play with some of the berries as they waited their turn. ;) which worked out really well. When it came to the painting part, we used construction paper and paint brushes like normal and the kids went to town on their paintings. A few preferred sucking on the paint brushes! Even though we used a totally edible material, I still reminded them to "paint on the paper" as I want them to get used to not putting art materials in their mouths.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A gift from the heart of a child......

This picture was drawn and gifted to me by one of my previous toddler students who is now four. That's me in the long black dress and scarf :D It is so cute just how observant kids are. I usually wear black as it is easy to clean (and hide messy toddler love and stains :D) and that is him in the corner :D It is such a cute picture!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

5 Things....

Five Things I Learned This Week......

It is funny how some work weeks are great. Nothing goes wrong and I seem like everything I set out to do is accomplished with great results. But then there are those weeks that are horrible, everything that possibly can go wrong does. The week seems to drag on and on. Then when it finally arrives, the weekend, it is spent in seclusion, away from noise, colds and viruses, stress, demands, expectations, and yes, even rules and policies. Well, usually if I have a really tough work week, I spend Saturday in complete rest! I am usually too tired to even write!

This was one of those weeks, long and exhausting. But, it was also been fun, filled with sweet moments and loads of learning. While a few of our children were out on vacation this week, it seemed like the rest of the class felt it necessary to kick it up a notch to keep the crazy teacher/energetic toddler equilibrium in the classroom. It felt like everyone was sick, kids and teachers alike. Everyday more than five teachers were out stretching the staff really then, some days we lost planning time or had to combine our classrooms so that one of us could be sent to another classroom. Thursday was staff meeting, which means a very long day! The end of the week brought on transitions for two of my little ones who will be moving up. It is going to be a rough transition for at least one of them who happens to be really attached. She had a complete meltdown when I had to leave her in her new classroom. :( Talk about heart-wrenching, I had to leave quickly before showing my own sadness. But I was very grateful when her teacher came back to my room to tell me she was doing okay and had settled down after a while. She was so nice to put my heart at ease. When they came back to my class after spending a couple of hours, my poor little one was so confused. She looked like she was on the verge of tears again as she looked at me, so betrayed for leaving her there. I smiled and welcomed her back with a big hug and soon her she was smiling and happy again as well. It is so fun to take walks around the shopping center with 8 toddlers in tow. This week due to low numbers and GREAT weather, we got two days of fun nature walks. We got so many pleasant smiles and hellos from people passing by. They got a kick out of seeing our four child strollers. One little boy mention how our stroller was bigger than his (two-seater stroller :D) While it is always nice to see a new face at work, it is not so nice to see a bunch of seasoned teachers leave after years of working together. A total of four teachers (that I know of) are leaving the center. Now comes the long process of trying to find replacements and the constant influx of strangers in the classroom, at a time when I will also have to deal with new children in my classroom.

So this post is dedicated to five things that I took away from this week' life lessons.

I learned how to let go: change is one of life's many lessons and almost always good. Without change, there can be no growth and development. Life will go on, even if I am not directly involved.

I learned to not let stress take over me: I like to be self-reliant, I like for everyone to know I can do my job @ 115% even when I am not feeling my best. It is okay to say, "I need help." It is okay not to be perfect in a demanding profession.

I learned that my body needs a break every now and then: I can not be an efficient teacher/caregiver if I do not take care of your body. Leave all work at work, use my breaks and lunch breaks to rest, relax, and recuperate!
I learned a smile can go a long way: the best smile is one that is given to brighten someone else's day. A generous smile almost always returns to brighten my day.

I also learned to appreciate everything, especially those around me, from friends to family, co-workers to the stranger on the street: Fresh air is so important to the body and mind. I need to spend more time outside exercising my body and mind. This weekend I relaxed in the company of family and good friends. It is also amazing how healthy (albeit yummy) food, movies and lots of laughs while resting comfy on a couch does a body good. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

In The News:Bright Horizons 2011 Award Ceremony!

This week has been totally awesome. It's teacher appreciation week at my center and the parents have been WONDERFUL to all of us teachers!!! They showered us with food, love, gifts, flowers, and kind, encouraging words. But most of all, I love this week because they nominated my co-teacher and I for awards for the Bright Horizons annual award ceremony. I received the Family Partnership Award.

The Family Partnership Award honors individuals who best demonstrate our philosophy regarding the importance of anticipating and responding to the needs of working families and ensuring their satisfaction. These individuals consistently meet the needs of children and families whom they serve, are open-minded, and build trusting relationships with families by respecting their needs, values, and differences.

I was so shocked when I heard my name called and touched that the families of my classroom saw me deserving of it. :) My co-teacher got the Rising Star award, and she is definitely a star in my eyes! It was an unexpected surprise that floored us both! :) This has been a great week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quote of the Day: Children are made readers...

~Children are made readers on the laps of their parents~

- Emilie Buchwald -

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teaching children can be a learning experience :D

Being a teacher and working with children has its ups, downs, and most importantly its hilarious moments. Below is a teacher-student conversation related to me by a teacher friend working at a different childcare center:

~Sitting with two children today. One asks: "Teacher, why is it time for nap?" I answer: "We spend a lot of time thinking, running, playing and learning and now it is time for resting." Other child: "Yeah, sometimes my brain just says it's time to dance."~

Children are such a joy to work with and make the best conversationists :D

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Quote of the Day: Children may forget....

~They (children) may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.~

- Carol Buchner-

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy me! :)

It is my 3 year anniversary at the childcare center where I work! :) It is amazing how fast time goes by. I was just recently reminiscing with a parent the other day just how big her son had gotten and how I have watched him grow over the years. When I first started, I worked as a float in the infant/toddler unit He was not more than 6 or seven months. Later, I was promoted to co-lead teacher in the young toddler room. I had him in my class for a year. We were very close as he remembered me from the infant room. Then he turned two. I continued to witness his development and growth as he went from the two's classroom to preschool. Now I have his baby sister and his cousin (yes, his auntie made sure her son came to my class when he turned one :D) in my classroom along with three other younger siblings of children who grew up and learned with me in Homebase B.

Another parent happen to see the large yellow congratulation sign posted outside my classroom and commented just how happy he was to have me as his children's teacher and congratulated me on my three years. I have to say, I was very pleased and honored, though honestly, it does not feel like it had been THAT long. Time did not seem to pass so quickly. But leave to Aaron, a funny teacher who likes to keep us all happy and laughing reminding me that I indeed had been there for a loooooong time. He said in a very calm, nonchalant, not trying to be funny way, "How does it feel to be the oldest teacher in the toddler unit?" "You are the senior toddler teacher, the toddler unit matriarch!" Bless his heart, he was trying to congratulate me and put me on a pedestal but all he did was remind me just how long it had been! :) But I would not change a thing and I hope and pray I have many more years to offer my love, care and professional abilities to many more generations of children to come!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Color week!!

So we are learning the colors this week. Each day we focus on a color. Today was dedicated to blue. We had a lot of fun. Most of the parents sent their kids in blue clothing!! :D Even my co-teacher wore a blue shirt in honor of Blue Day. Wouldn't you know it I forgot to do laundry so did not have anything blue to wear :( But we still had lots of fun. We put out all blue toys (well a good number of the toys were blue.) We filled our sensory table with water and slowly dropped in blue water color into the sensory table letting them mix and splash until the water was blue. (We added soap in the water so that hopefully the color washes out easier later on.) We also did art with blue construction paper and blue glitter and foam paint. Half the class can say the color blue now :D We will see tomorrow if they remember it :D

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The little things.....

I spend all day taking care of kids, running after them, keeping them safe, feeding them, cleaning them, diapering them, educate them, and most important of all loving them. Childcare is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in a child's life. It is also a very tough job. I don't just baby sit toddlers all day, no, that is not my in my job description. Yes, I change diapers. Yes, I watch them to keep them safe from harm. Yes, I do pretty much what a baby sitter would do. But. I also create an environment conducive to nurturing their social, cognitive, emotional and physical development. ( I work in the young toddler unit, one year olds.) I encourage curiosity, exploration and discovery. They don't just play, they learn and grow.

Childcare is a great place for a child to bud and grow. But childcare can also be hard on a young one. Imagine spending over eight hours a day in a room with two teachers and 9 other kids. You have to share everything, space, toys, books, germs and even the teachers attention. Childcare can be a bit overwhelming at times. It is no wonder that every now and then, a child needs a little something more.

A day ago, one of my toddlers had a run in with a classmate who took his toy. We walked over to the grabber and got the toy back but the child was still an emotional wreck. I sat down on the ground so that we could be at the same eye level. I gave the child a big hug. After a minute, he looked up at me and smiled then went off to play. He was fine. I was touched by his reaction to something so little like a hug. But then I thought, maybe it was not such a small thing, a comforting, reassuring hug.

I sure could use one of those right about now :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Silver lining.....

Copyright © 2009 SN Taylor All Rights Reserved.

Yes, it is true, every dark cloud does have a silver lining! Tuesday was, let's just say, not one of my best days. Transitions have started early for my classroom. I have two new children and boy did it feel like I had twenty! Nothing went right, one child would scream or cry causing a domino effect resulting in the rest of the class breaking down. Nap-time nearly brought me to tears. Not much sleeping happened on that day! Needless to say, by the end of the day, not only were they tired, cranky and hungry, they were so done with each other and the classroom! BUT! those same children today did much better. In fact, I got to see them smile, laugh and play. :) I got to see their sweet personalities. It will probably be a couple of weeks before they are fully comfortable with their new room, teachers and classmates, but I am happy we are on our way!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Monthly Blog Award

Introducing..........The Monthly Blog Awards!!!!

I have come across some really great blogs as of late. Some are informative, concise and to the point. Some are lovely, poetic and heart felt, but most of all, they inspire me. I would love to dedicate a post or two to these wonderful blogs and their bloggers each month on the 15th. I would hope that each of you would check out their blogs and grow to love what I have come to love and cherish from these blogs.