It has been a long time since I posted. Most of that comes from the fact that we are in a pandemic. I moved all of my preschool to distance learning and worked on filming videos for my youtube channel. I had to give him filming regular videos though because I needed to concentrate on being ready for the preschool students who appeared within my Google Meet window every Tuesday and Thursday and Wednesday the individual times I needed to work on for my students.
In doing all of this I was also providing Preschool bags and my income had dropped to 50 percent. But I was lucky. While many educators were fighting their clients for half their pay while asking the provider to keep their spots and provide educational experiences for their children, I did not have to do so. My clients were so great in making sure they paid even half their tuition, that it made me go the extra mile for them.
I used Experience Early Learning curriculum to help me provide the educational tools needed to continue learning their learning at home. And the video above is clear proof of how I was willing to make a fool of myself in order to provide some semblance of normalcy.
As I moved through the weeks and finished up the paperwork to buy a house to expand my preschool (INSANITY!), I became increasingly more and more concerned that my dreams of being a preschool that was embedded in the neighborhood and providing a much needed service would be crushed. I was a military provider and we had no guidance about how unemployment would work for us. I was adrift and stressed. But I have been pushing forward.
And now here it is, July and I am a month from my Grand Re-opening and we are facing a re-surge in cases. I have worked very hard and created the classroom of my dreams, gotten my license from the state of California and I am currently full. The uncertainty that is coming with not knowing if I will continue to have a business in 2021 is astounding.
I will continue to move forward though. Because I have had this dream since I was five years old and I want to continue to in this career field. In order to do that I have to over come my fears of the future. So in an effort to do just that I have made some goals for myself that will help get to a new normal.
1. I am going to be posting once a week on this blog and my consulting blog.
2. I will post on video a week to my youtube channel.
3. I will begin offering webinars on certain topics that are childcare and early education related.
4. I am going to begin researching and writing a book on working as an Early Education Educator.
If you are having fears about the future leave them in the comments. Lets talk it out.
Live Long and Keep Teaching,
With this Blog post I wanted to take a look back at all of the many things we did with Experience Early Learning Mother Goose Time Curriculum. We spent a ton of time outside, learning new things, gaining new skills and doing it all with hands on learning, dancing and fun! Take a trip through our past and we look forward to seeing you during our future.
The difference between Preschool and Prekindergarten
Since I opened my doors in 2012, I have tried to maintain a part day preschool/prekindergarten program. I feel very strongly about creating a program that helps in a small way to close the achievement gap. I say small way, because where ever I end up, I am going to stay a small program that will be embedded into the neighborhood. In my head, I become a neighborhood staple that is well known within the community. It may seem like a weird thing to dream when it comes to my business, I understand that, I also know that after spending my entire life moving around and never being embedded in a community, I crave it. I want to provide a service that benefits and enriches the area in which I live.
I have had parents ask me to explain the difference between preschool and prekindergarten. The reason for that is because I run my program different for those two different classes. I wanted to make sure that the type of education offered between the two programs was appropriate for the children that were enrolled. So for this blog post I am going to explain what the differences are in the two programs and I will show examples of how I address children’s individual goals.
My preschool program is for ages 2-3. The preschool program is a learn through play program. This means that the activities that I pick for the day are hands on and usually child led. I may set the activities out, but they work at their own pace with them. I want them to feel comfortable in taking charge of their own education.
I encourage independence and thinking for themselves. This helps them learn how to use their imagination and inspires their dramatic play. An example of this would the theme of the month from Experience Early Learning with Mother Goose Time. We have been doing community helpers. In order to fully lean into the community helpers theme, I have set up a fire station wall with a building for the children to use the fire truck. They have been rolling the fire truck right up to the house made from a tri-fold science board and sending the fireman figure up to the top to put out the fire that is raging in the pretend house.
Another way I encourage independence and provide a learn through play environment, is with outdoor play. I provide them with loose parts in the outdoor area. Loose parts are various bits and pieces that do not particularly go together. This is amazing because the children can dive completely into the play and come up with everything without my preconceived notions of their play interfering.
This does not mean I am not teaching or leading my classroom. It does mean that I foster and facilitate early independence and we work on learning letters, numbers and shapes while they are playing. Through circle time activities, individual time that takes place during. free play in 2-5-minute increments. The individual time for this age group is not something that involves them sitting at the table to color or write. It’s 2-5 minutes of teacher directed and focused attention.
Prekindergarten is ages 4-5 and sometimes depending on abilities and maturity, I will take older 3-year olds. For this class I still use the themes that are in the Experience Early Learning curriculum, but I tend to mix in other curriculum such as Starfalls and Handwriting Without Tears. Since this is the year before Kindergarten, I want to make sure I have an accurate picture of the skills that the children have and like to make sure I can use a curriculum to address their needs. It is a benefit from working for myself, that I can be more responsive and flexible in my response to the learning styles of the children in my classrooms.
With Pre-k I am making sure that the children understand how to be independent when it comes to going to the bathroom, following directions and doing work independently. Most of the learning takes place within a learn through play environment but there are more instances of intentional teacher directed learning. I move at the pace of each individual student. Which I am able to do because I have a small classroom. The benefits of a family childcare home is that I am able to spend more time on each child and cater their learning experience to them specifically. This leads to better outcomes and encourages them to ask me for more things they would like to learn about.
If you have any questions or suggestions about how I run a preschool/prek program from home please feel free to comment, share or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
The month of Nov was insane! I spent the beginning part of the month dealing with children moving, birthday's and getting ready to attend the NAEYC Conference. But even with all of that we had learning to do. That learning for the month had to do with Community Helpers with Experience Early Learning.
Community Helpers theme is important because that is how we are able to teach children how to be helpful with the people in their life. We are not just teaching them about the professions that help the community in which they live. We are teaching them how these professions help us and keep the community functioning. This means moving beyond the careers of police officers and firefighters. We need to dig into people who work in the stores where we buy our goods, the hospitals where we take our sick and the teachers (like us) who teach our children.
So, for the police officer craft, instead of concentrating on catching bad guys, we focused on peaceful policing. In a life far far away I use to be Military Police, I told them stories about how I helped people who were lost, how I directed traffic during accidents and how I walked around during Halloween to help people as they went trick or treating. The purpose of these stories was to ensure they understood that helping others was the important part of the career.
After we spoke about the different ways which I helped people, I wanted them to think about the different ways in which they help those that they loved. To do that we talked about household chores and what we do to help our families. Some of them told me they didn't help at home AT ALL! (adorable). But they talked about helping to bake, sweep and fold laundry. We discussed if helping made them feel good and how they felt when other helped them.
After that, I dismissed them from circle time to go into free time. I asked them to think about ways to help their friends with games and during clean up time. On this day in the history of teaching the small children in my classroom were kind and sweet and only had a few fights. It was great.
I encourage all of you to continue the talk of kindness and being helpful in your classrooms. Children can learn a lot through watching but sometimes short discussions can be great reminders for children.
Remember to be kind and helpful :)
Live Long and Keep Teaching!
This month has been filled with events and fun for the families enrolled in Perfect Start Learning. The holiday season means that we have a harder time getting through the curriculum due to working on the recital and preparing for other events. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a box from Mother Goose Time with their new toddler curriculum.
I think that I was expecting something that would just be a smaller version of the Prek version. I was super surprised about the structure of the curriculum. I am still trying to wrap my head around everything and want to do an in depth look into the curriculum and how it works differently, but I thought I would show an example of the difference from the prekindergarten curriculum.
The first activity I tried had to do with the book Bella and the Umbrella. It was adorable, but also very long for small children. Lucky for me the first activity was about taking a picture walk through the book with the children and working on how to handle and treat a book. This is a simple activity, and I never thought about doing a lesson on book treatment! Usually I would go over the top of the book, bottom, and why we should treat books nicely at the beginning of the year during circle time.
This was different in the way that we were able to sit down together and ask questions, it encouraged them to really look closely at the pictures and using their imagination to decide what the book is about. This is an excellent activity and I have a video of the totally adorable conversation we had about the book and one of the pages.
Encouraging toddlers to read and love books may seem easy but we as educators tend to over complicate it. This lesson from Experience Early Learning, reminded me that often the best idea is to simply sit and talk. Model the correct behavior and listen to them as they speak to you. Til next time.....
Live Long and Keep Teaching!