A DAY AT A PRESCHOOL IS A SPECIAL INTERPLAY BETWEEN A TEACHER AND A CHILD. THIS INTERPLAY MAKES A DAY QUITE MEANINGFUL FOR EACH CHILD AT A PRESCHOOL, AND A PRESCHOOL TEACHER IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND IT.
We always look forward to special moments in life. For example, birthdays and celebrations, the day we will get married, the day when a child will be born, the moments that will be rewarded, etc.
These moments always remain special to us. But, there are other moments which are not that special. They just pass by in a very routine manner. Don’t we all wish that every day in our lives be special or at least a few moments be special each day? I know, it’s a big ‘yes’. It’s the same with kids. In fact, they wish for more. I often see that many children don’t want to go to school. They repeatedly grumble saying that they are bored in school.
Early childhood classrooms are filled with routine moments, such as, getting into the classroom in the morning, repeating the lessons, scribbling and writing, participating in some activities, and finally, leaving for home at the end of the day. These ordinary moments make the children sense the world. The rituals and the routine have a lasting impression on them. As these moments stay for a lifetime, it is important for teachers to think how to transform this everyday routine into some extraordinary moments.
Usually, in a preschool environment, the welcome and the goodbye time are crucial moments which help a teacher get connected with the children in a better way. We can call these as ‘connecting moments’. Capturing these moments to the optimum, helps a teacher capture the attention of the children, which in turn helps them in learning better in the classroom.
LET US LOOK AT A FEW IDEAS.
Children are always eager for something new. They look forward to surprises. So, place a table at the entrance of the classroom. Arrange a few objects on the table in an interesting way to arouse curiosity in children. Ensure that the things are such which children can manipulate. For example, finger puppets, hand puppets, door knobs, calling bell, tic-tac toys and so on. You can also arrange a water tub with fish and make children drop some food for them. Welcome the children and encourage them to see, touch and feel the things. Use some colourful papers, trays and other decor and arrange the table in an interesting way.
The objective of this ‘Surprise Welcome’ is to spark their curiosity and help them start their day in a special and interesting manner.
Once children complete their day they should go home happy. At the same time, they should be eager to come back the next day. Hence goodbye moments too should make an impression on the child. Design cards representing one picture for each child. Write the names of the children beside the pictures. For example – Rose for child A; Puppy for child B and so on. Explain to each child that the picture represents him/ her. Punch holes to the cards and tie a small rope so as to hang it in the designated place. In the classroom, designate two places to hang the cards at a height where the children can reach.
Name the places ‘In Station’ and ‘Out Station’ respectively. Hang all the cards on the ‘Out Station’ hanger. As soon as the child comes in, welcome and direct him/her to the ‘Out Station’ hanger. Ask the child to identify his/ her card, pick it and hang it to the ‘In Station’ hanger. At the end of the day, when the child is about to leave, ask the child to place it back at the ‘Out Station’ hanger.
Encourage the child to greet everyone once they place the card in ‘In station’ and say bye to everyone when they place the card in ‘Out Station’ This acts as a motivating factor for the child and makes them look forward to the next day. This arrangement can be made in many more creative ways according to the convenience of teachers, space and resources.
Making these two connecting moments special, makes the day extraordinary for children.
About the Author:
RAMA DEVI MAVURI
Subject Lead, NextPre-primary, Next Education
Rama Devi Mavuri completed her B.Sc from Nagarjuna University and M.A. in Literature from Osmania University. She has also obtained a B.Ed from ICFAI University, a Diploma in Montessori Education and a PG Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). Her research interests include the relation between teaching-learning assessment processes and curriculum practices with special emphasis on early childhood education.