So the children have embraced the table setting practice. One day when I was getting ready for snack a child offered to help me set the table. I asked her if she wanted to do it herself. She responded enthusiastically with a yes. I quickly put a tray together of my materials (no shelf yet). She went straight to work. When the other children saw what she was doing they wanted to help but Helen wanted to do it herself. So I asked the children if I should make a sign up sheet.They said yes.
So I quickly created a sign up sheet. At our group meeting that day I let them know I would leave it on the table and they could sign up for a turn. Everyone rushed to sign up.
Each day the children took seriously the task of setting the table. Each child had their own style, some were less is more and some children were of the belief that more is more.
We have started a new tradition as well. When we sit down to enjoy our snack at our beautiful table we thank the child who set it.
The parents have gotten excited about it as well. I leave the table set for pick up time. The other day I had a parent take pictures of the table her child set. Parents come with flowers for the table sometimes as well.
“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem or saying a prayer. “
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Treasure Maps 2012 ~ Big Kids Magazine, Kim and I had a meeting in a coffee shop this weekend that featured an artist who worked with maps which reminded of me of this project. I love maps, I find it is one of those universally appealing subjects. I set out maps and there is always a reaction. This is a really cool project please check it out.
Do You Care? ~ Brick by Brick, fabulous post about caring and the importance of relationships.
Just Part of Life ~ Sunflower Creative Arts, a great post about a child exploring death and a parent’s responsive ways.
So one of the benefits of being a Roots of Empathy Instructor is more professional development. As I have said before I am an ECE geek, I love professional development! I am a professional development addict. My co-educators used to joke that I had a thousand hours between licensing renewels. I used to joke that there were twelve step programs for people like me.
Today the Saanich School District hosted a Roots of Empathy learning circle of sorts. I was a little nervous going into it. See I am the youngest at the table. The other instructors are retired principals, high school teachers and primary teachers. There is a lot of wisdom in this group. I am the only Early Childhood Educator at the table as well. I love the Roots of Empathy program but the curriculum does feel a little foreign to me. The content is great but I am a practitioner of emergent curriculum and following the child’s lead, I have never taught with a scripted curriculum before. So as nervous as I was I was excited to sit down with all that wisdom and hear how they were approaching the curriculum.
The funny thing was we were all approaching it in very similar ways. We were following the children’s lead and fitting the curriculum to the children.
One of the instructors shared something that stayed with me as well. She said “Curriculum is not the lesson you plan but what happens in the classroom.” As an ECE I have always believed this. It is the thing I love most about being an ECE, the flying by the seat of my pants, not knowing where the children will take me next. I also think its what I like about being an ROE Instructor. You never know where the children and babies will take you. What is happening in the classroom between that Kindergarten class and baby is amazing and I am honoured that I get to be a part of it. I also feel honoured that I get to be part of another learning community with these wise wise women.
Do you have a group that you share the learning with?
The West Coast of Canada has many nicknames The Wet coast and the Grey Coast. This morning I woke up and it was pouring rain, it was grey and cold. So Helaina and I got her morning almond milk and my morning coffee and we went back to my bed, turned on the tv watched What Not to Wear and had a cuddle.
For some (sadly most) the story might end there for a rainy day. For us it did not. We got our clothes on rubber boots and all and headed outside and found some puddles to jump. Here is the thing Helaina has taught me about rain. Children find rain joyful and they don’t see it as a roadblock to life like adults do. Helaina and I have gone for a walk everyday since she started walking. A short walk usually a block. Helaina takes her time and at some point during the walk asks to be picked up. The first time we went for a walk in the rain, totally different story. She couldn’t stop laughing, she ran, our walk was longer and I never had to pick her up.
Rain funnily enough actually makes me miss my life in preschool. The preschool program started outside every day rain or shine. We didn’t have the greatest playyard, in fact most of the early years staff despised it but on rainy days it was awesome. Water pooled and collected in various places. Gutters leaked and streams of water poured down.
A child letting a stream of water fall on her head.