Tuesday, September 7, 2010

From Story Time to Staff Meetings

I returned to my job as Graduate Teaching Assistant at a lab school of my department at Tufts. I really missed being a teacher this summer and all of my fantastic colleagues and students. These people know what they're doing! They've taught me that there's a reason for everything that happens at school and how important a school day is for a child, both socially/emotionally and intellectually. Essentially, schools are developed to socialize children for the world in which they live. Each country emphasizes specific parts of their curriculum, including rules and activities, to prepare children for the values and knowledge points that are needed in their society.
This year I will be moving from teaching kindergarten to preschool. I asked my head teacher if there was anything that I should be aware of during this transition. He emphasized how important the children's daily routine is. For some, this is the first time they are socializing with a large group of peers. Something as simple as story time could be a real challenge. I thought about that a bit. During story time, children listen to their teacher reading something he/she thinks is important or interesting to the group. Sometimes children may have questions about what is read or like to add something to what is being said. Often, teachers will debrief the story after it has been completed. The group discusses what they just learned. Does this remind you of anything? It strangely reminded me of a staff meeting.
What if children don't participate in story time with a large group of peers? Is this why some don't know how to conduct themselves in large-group meetings? Perhaps!
I want to highlight a storytelling program that I think is particularly fun and family-friendly. Barefoot Books, the Cambridge-based publisher, runs story hours throughout the week at their flagship store in Concord. I would volunteer to read there on Saturdays when they were based out of a Porter Square storefront. It was so fun for me, and I think the families felt like that had a special place to visit each Saturday morning. It also allowed children to socialize with others in the neighborhood. I urge you to check it out, take your kids, or volunteer!

P.S. This summer I learned how to clean a Mr. Potato Head. Step-by-step directions to follow!

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