I know I said I would write more often however I have a couple excuses. First, I got really sick with the flu for about two weeks and things just piled up like dirty laundry (which was something that in fact piled up and overflowed out of my hamper). B, two weeks ago was a major deadline for work when many things were due so I spent a lot of time working. Three, I’ve been distracted by snowboarding, sewing, friends, and games. Lastly, I’ve spent my free time just being lazy.
As I said, a couple weeks ago was a major deadline at work. Head Start is a federally funded program so the government likes to know where their money is going. Therefore we are required to keep portfolios for each of the children and provide evidence of their social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. We also need to write anecdotes about how the children fulfill the requirements of a fifty point Creative Curriculum. We also had parent teacher conferences at the same time. I never knew how much paperwork could be involved in teaching preschool.
Every two weeks we switch the theme of the classroom. A few weeks ago our theme was space. We had pictures of planets all around the room, little toy robots and aliens, a cardboard rocket ship, and little spacesuits for the height impaired. We talked about the sun and our position in the solar system. We strung up a paper cone rocket on a string and the children had to figure out how to get it across the room without the use of their hands. I shot off little photo canister alka seltzer rockets. It was a blast.
The next two weeks were focused on the ocean. Water dwelling creatures were posted all along the walls. Fishing poles were given to the children as they fished for fish with fishy numbers on them. I folded paper boats the children colored with markers. The next day we placed the boats in a tub of water to see if they would float. Sure enough, they did… temporarily. With the waves and splashing from the children playing around the boats were soon drenched and sinking to the bottom, the color from the markers melting into the water. At first the water was a beautiful array of colors, then as they mixed it became a murky brown. My friend Mel who works at the aquarium came in to do some activities with the children turning a couple of them into bullfrogs that ate the rest of the children as an example of an endemic species.
Following our ocean theme we are now in the middle of a fantasy/fairy tale setup. A large castle is hanging up on the wall in front of a small puppet theatre. In my best Swedish chef impersonation I took a chef puppet and chased after one of the pigs trying to make bacon. It is a good thing that it was only fantasy as I would never do such a thing in real life. The kids got a kick out of it though. We tell stories like Jack and the Beanstalk which comes complete with a tiny Jack, a tiny giant, and a tiny giant beanstalk.
I have taken my guitar into the class twice now to sing songs like This Little Light of Mine, Puff the Magic Dragon and Down by the Bay. I also introduced the children to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Feet in French. Now they are moving and singing in a second, or for many a third, language. It is pretty cool.
I am really enjoying my job. I can’t think of any other profession I would rather be in. I don’t spend all my time working though, as it might sound. I actually have very active yoga and Buddhist practices. I attend a Power Hour yoga class twice a week and sitting meditation once a week. I am also in the process of sewing a rakasu. A rakasu is a bib-looking thing that hangs around my neck during meditation. I am sewing it so that I might receive jukai in May. Jukai is translated into receiving the precepts. So in May I will officially be considered a Buddhist.
All in all, life is pretty great. I really appreciate that I have so many things to be thankful for. I am healthy, I have a nice place to live in a pretty cool city, I have a great job (especially nice with an economy in such a state), and spring is on its way. Hooray!