I headed back in to my Pre-K classroom yesterday to take a few things I had around the house that I wanted to use for school. I also wanted to take advantage of the last few days I have my boys' extra hands to help.
Honestly, I haven't even thought about school this summer. Not a bit. I am a firm believer in a teacher's need for a good, long mental break from the classroom. No summer school for this teacher. (Well, except for the summer we volunteered in Colombia, and I definitely suffered the consequences the following year for not taking the break I needed to).
Yet it's funny how the school mode took over with just one step into my classroom. The boys carried in my stuff, I set it down in the room, and I came home with ideas pouring into my "Let's get this year started" notebook. (No, it doesn't really have that title. It's just a notebook.)
I will have to say that I am actually looking forward to this school year, despite the fact that I don't want summer to end. Last year held changes in every area of life for me, including school. This year it seems I'm one of only a few teachers in my building who isn't going through an extreme change (either by teaching a new grade level or just moving into a new classroom or both). I get to repeat and improve upon what worked well last year for me, and I have a much better idea of how much my little ones can learn in a year's time.
My kids will not only learn their letters and numbers and begin to count and spell, but they will learn how important it is to have structure in our lives. Our first tasks include learning how to use a restroom independently and figuring out how and why we walk in a line. Throughout the year I will teach them how to show respect for others and how to treat a friend. We learn together how to use our bodies more effectively by writing words, drawing pictures, cutting on a line, hopping on one foot, bouncing a ball, skipping, manipulating small objects, filling containers with sand, making eye contact, listening to stories, regulating our voice level, and sitting still when necessary.
My kids will learn by doing things hands-on. They sing (a lot). They act out. They use motions. They touch the things we learn about. They copy and trace. They listen. They follow. They observe. They play. They make friends. They work with different partners all the time. They learn how to be nice. They learn how to share and take turns. They repeat new words every day. They problem-solve. They travel to other places via the stories we read together. They learn the joy of reading a book. They use their imagination. They take pride in themselves when they learn something new. And most importantly, they have fun.
Yep, I think that covers it. Everything they'll ever need to know.
And I get to teach them. :)
Here goes to another school year!