Ahh…how the sauntering summer goes so swiftly by. It is back to school time and I had my first assignment. It took almost as long as an aticle just to write a one page letter to parents, but here it is in the rare form:
Greetings parents and friends!
I’m excited to dive back into the days of exploration and play, after a successful island hop from Orcas Island classroom to Vashon Island classroom. As teachers and parents, we are fortunate to have created a school environment understanding of the value of play as an intricate part of learning, while honoring each child’s intrinsic interests and needs. I look forward to fostering my relationship with the kids I have spent time with in the past school year, while getting to know those new faces in the classroom.
Already in day one, kids have begun to mingle and explore a diversity of materials. Many have dabbled with building all sorts of “contractions” (to quote one of our students in reference to her work) out of the marble maze. Others have engaged is some of our cooperate board games, learning to count and take turns along the way. Everyone has also had an opportunity to either make their mark, scribble, or name onto their cubby, beginning their journey towards reading and writing. This way they’re sure to find those extra shoes, shirt or piece of artwork to give to their parent.
Here is but just a few projects Julie and I have in mind for the school year:
In the beginning weeks we will be setting up a climbing wall in the backyard for the physical challenge. Right now we are in the mathematical stage – measuring body height, arms length, and legs length, for a custom fit for a three and four year old climbing wall. All of this information will then be taken into account when measuring distances between climbing “holds.” Each set of “holds” is color coordinated for various skill levels. At the top of the climbing wall we plan to dangle a bell for each little climber to ring after a successful reach to the top. Don’t worry the wall will not extend over roof height and rocks will not be below them. We respect children to take some risks when playing and learning, however safety does come first.
There will be ample time and space for artistic expression on the Vashon Island stage. We had a our first band rehearsal on the first day, with someone on keyboard, another on the wooden xylophone, and myself on tambourine. I look forward to many future plays and jam sessions.
Our painted wave on the wall in the classroom will begin a series of related projects. Some kids have already sprung forth the idea of introducing sharks into these un-chartered waters along with dolphins and other sea creatures. I am thrilled to introduce new curriculum in tune with these expressive interests as they will make the process of learning uninterrupted, cooperative, and a continuum fun experience – in the life of a preschool classroom. And this is how the early years shall begin – full of emerging projects towards a well-rounded education and led by the loving support of a community school. And it gives me great joy to be a part of this, in the coming year!