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Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Beginnings

Well, our school year is off to a wonderful start. 
 We just finished up our second week of school and 
the children have been quickly adjusting to being back at school 
or starting school for the first time.
As they adjust, our job is to try and help them on their journey.  Each child is different and has their  own unique way of processing change and exploring the world.  For this reason we take things slow in the beginning and  do little things to help them feel a sense of belonging to the school.

Our first project is always a watercolor painting project.  All the children this year have shown a love of painting.  These early watercolor paintings become the background for their  school picture.

Every year we hang pictures of the children in the school.  They love seeing themselves, but also I feel it gives them a feeling of belonging and a sense of identity in the school, of being  a part of this new environment they are exploring.  They also like recognizing new and old friends.  

Here are a couple pictures of the children painting on their first day.

Another way they make their mark in the school is by having their hand prints in the hallway as they enter the school.  Sometimes it is seeing their picture or giving their hand a high five, that is the little thing they need to make that initial separation from their parents and help them move into the routine of the day.  These hands were also created after we read 
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, so they have an association of seeing those hands and the story of a raccoon who was hesitant about starting school, but received a kissing hand so he knew he was loved and that he would love school.

 We also try to create an environment that makes the children feel at home 
with pictures of their family at their cubby.

Other ways that we try to help the children in these first days is to have them create their helping hands, which give them a sense of responsibility in the school.  Each child puts their helping hand in a job they would like to do for the day.  This helps us with the routine, but also the importance of helping each other.

So, in essence our first couple weeks have been focused on having the children make their mark in the school, make their presence visible in some way.

Another fun project we just completed was their school art folders, these will be displayed in the hallway for parents and the children to look at.  A lot of their experimental artwork goes into these folders with little descriptions and stories about the artwork, they become a great keepsake at the end of the school year.

Over the last couple years the children have had a lot of fun spray painting their folders then gluing their pictures on the cover.  I always love how they turn out.

In addition to spray painting, some of the children used eye droppers to squirt out their colors on their paintings

The finished product is always wonderful!

The children then glued their pictures to the cover.

When I go down the hallway each morning it makes me so happy  to see all these faces smiling and I get excited to see what each day will bring.  My hope is that the children and parents feel the same way when they enter the school.