While observing the La Petite Academy where my nephew goes to class, I found the environment very encouraging for children. One thing I noticed upon arrival to the daycare is that there is keypad that only parents and staff have the codes to, which allows the facility to be safe. There are numerous animals, letters, and numbers on the walls, along with the children artwork. Upon arrival, I saw that they had each student wash their hands before starting their work. Each room of the daycare was separated by age group allowing them to learn at their level.
My observation of the two year olds, started early in the morning where they began singing songs and doing exercises to get the children motivated. They then sat in a circle and started to sing the alphabet. Besides working on the alphabet in the time I spent at the daycare, the children also wrote the letters the best they could. Another big observation I made, is that even during the times the children were to be singing, sitting in a circle, or doing what they were supposed to do the environment was not structured very well, and seemed flexible. They did have routines like greeting one another, napping, as well as snack times, which seemed to be easy.
The children at La Petite Academy had a lot of room to run and play. There was a large fenced in area connected to the daycare where the children went out and played for a while during the day. However, it seemed that depending on how the children were behaving, and if they were to the point of not listening, then the children went outside to play and run off some of their energy.
The toys at the daycare that were for the two year olds seemed to have a lot that were the same. I am not sure if this is because they would argue a lot amongst each other over which toy they wanted or if some other child had a toy that another kid wanted, so I think that the duplicate toys made it easier and not so many fights. Although, while I was there, I saw that some of the children were biting when they did not get their way, as well as some pulling each other’s hair. The discipline that the daycare gave for the behavior was to make the child have time out. The time out they use is based on the child’s age. For example, the two-year-olds would stay in time out for two minutes. However, they sometimes give the child an extra minute so they can calm down.
From my observation, the daycare is focused on using a lot of consistency. They have their times in the circle playing together, snakes, free time, lunch, and naptime. The routine is everyday the same way that way the children know what is expected of them everyday. The naptime is for one hour each day, and gives the children time to rest up before the afternoon hours.
I enjoyed visiting the daycare to get a good sense on what goes on in the child’s world while they are away from home. They set out to make each child as well as parent feel very safe while they are in the childcare providers care. The organization and routines offer the children a good learning environment as well as fun. They allow socialization between the children giving them a bright start for their future.
Today I taught in every room from toddlers to school age. Staff was extremely short handed. I was asked to stay and work extra hours to assist in filling in the staff gap. I actually enjoy the variety and break in my routine. My personality veers towards seeking constant challenge and change. In my opinion this is a great trait to possess. As an educator, the ability to respond to constant change is non negotiable. The day is controlled by the children’s moods, and attention span. Without a flexible personality on the educator’s part, nothing would ever be accomplished. Adults have off days, and need to comprehend that children are human beings who succumb to the same mood shifts as us.
When working in different rooms, my eyes always scan, and my mind silently trouble shoots. I emphasize the word silently because a teacher’s classroom is their kingdom. Suggestions by another educator are heeded with the same welcoming tone as criticism about their own children. That would be with defensiveness. I sometimes have to remind myself of the latter fact as I work in various rooms. Keeping my thoughts to me will protect future cohesiveness and camaraderie between the teachers. Negativity amongst staff is sensed quickly by children and breeds nothing but a negative classroom climate for the children.
My first stop was the infant room. It was a nice day and the door to the infant room was open to let in fresh air. The mobile infants were crawling towards the door. The door abuts a gated outdoor infant sized playground with a foam floor. Thus children can’t be injured by crawling into the road. However they do need to be supervised on the small equipment so their wobbly motor skills do not cause a calamity on the low little tike’s equipment. Staff stated that they were tired of chasing infants who constantly crawled towards the door. My observations found an obvious way to save the staff stress. When the weather is nice, put a safety gate across the opening to the outdoors. The staff will not tire from constantly retrieving the infants. The infants will be free to roam safely and freely. I made a mental note to make an anonymous suggestion to the director.
My next stop was the pre kindergarten room. The class was in the midst of a rousing rendition of “One Two Buckle My Shoe”. Many children were engaged in playing with cars and toy farm animals. I silently felt that choice based creative curriculum does not mean playing with toy cars during circle time. Could choices made for children not interested in finger play and songs be restricted to more educational choices? Perhaps if the child does not wish to participate in the activity, other activities could be limited to using stencil letters, manipulatives, and other educational items. This is just an observation. I respect the classroom teacher who developed her pre Kindergarten curriculum. I would never correct her. Who knows if my observation is wrong and her way possibly correct. I would not want a teacher coming into my school age room and doing such a thing to me.
My next stop was the preschool room. The children were transitioning into nap time. One child cried incessantly. I sat by her to comfort her. The staff referred to her as a whiner. This was a typical case of labeling. The child is two and one half years old. She transitioned to the preschool room in early September. Apparently the child is going through an adjustment period transitioning from the toddler two room where pacifiers are common. Instead of calling this toddler a whiner, perhaps observing the whole picture is warranted. How can one expect a child to transition to such a different environment so quickly? The crying jags are obviously based in the little girl’s fear of the “big girl” demands that are being expected of her.
As children arose at the end of naptime, a teacher actually told the little girl that she kept the other children up with her crying. The little girl was told to stay on her rest mat for five minutes while other children got up. I thought this statement was deplorable. How can one even expect a two year old girl two comprehend the concept of five minutes. In using time frames with small children a visual should be used. I have been known to put five strips of paper up on the wall. Each minute of time would include the removal of one strip of paper. The child would know that the time to get up was coming as less paper strips were visible. My week has been long and tiring. I will end with this entry.
Have a great week:-0)
Mari N. M.Ed., CECE
Tags Education Parenting Early Childhood School Age Learning Inclusive teaching developmental disabilities Group Activities Inclusive Classroom, Education Parenting Early edChildhood Special Needs Autism Aspergers Developmental Disability, multi age preschool, multiage, role modeling, teachers, teaching
Categories autism, early childhood, education, literacy, Mari Nosal, multiage, Positive classroom climate, Uncategorized