I’m not quite sure who won, preschool or I, but I know my head still hurts and it’s going to take more than just sleeping it off to get back up and running. (And by that I mean I’ll take a few Tylenol and probably feel fine in the morning.)
So preschool, if you’ve never taught it before, is not all finger paints, letters and numbers, and play dough. No, it is finger paint all over their clothes, realizing that the long U sound can be spelled with three different phonograms (try teaching that to 4 year olds!), and the eternal question of how play dough can dry up so fast on your kitchen table if not sealed properly, but has ample time to stay squishy and mushy in your carpet getting ground in deeper, ever deeper, by the pitter patter of little feet running through your house?
You might think at this point that I don’t actually like teaching preschool. But I do. It’s just harder than one might expect at first. Having participated in a neighborhood preschool for 2 years now (and maybe a third next year – or the year after) I have learned some valuable tips.
- The kids aren’t going to listen to you or stop interrupting you until the very last day of preschool. This is sometimes frustrating. But this is also good. They are developing their listening skills and today I could their development clearly as they raised hands, took turns speaking (mostly), and made semi-relevant comments during circle time.
- No matter who delicious your snack is, if it isn’t fruit snacks, at least one child “doesn’t eat that” and they need you to make another snack. This is not a personal attack on you or your delicious culinary skills. Some kids just really only like fruit snacks. Just because they don’t like vanilla pudding (yum!) doesn’t mean they don’t like you!
- Few things will go as you planned. Not because your plans aren’t awesome, but because you are working with about 6 or 7 little children who can’t write their names or say their “R”s yet. They aren’t going to see your majestic vision of preschool paradise and academic achievement glory. They will, however, see all your toys. Doing it their way may actually be an improvement on your original plan anyway, so just go with it.
So on to the fabulous plan I had for today! The preschool theme was long U and I chose to talk about fruit! (which is technically the /oo/ sound and not the /u/ sound.) Let’s just move on.
We started talking about how wonderful seeds are. (Oooooooo and Aaaahhh, aren’t seeds magnificent?) But where do the seeds come from? Fruit, of course (Oooooooo, Aaahhh!) We really did Ooooo and Aaahhhh all morning long, just for fun. Seeds come from fruit and fruit come from blossoms. We cut an apple just to make sure there really were seeds in it. Check!
We read Mr. Putter and Tabby Pick the Pears, which is a cute story about an elderly man and his cute elderly neighbor. And fruit. And a slingshot.
We brainstormed all different kinds of fruit out there and all the different things we could do with those fruits, which of course includes creating still life paintings of fruit.
And then we created still life paintings of fruit. Because we are artists! (Oooooooh! Aaaaaahhhh!)
And lastly, and probably most anticipated (more than painting even which is a feat!) we taste tested all of the fruit in our fruit baskets. ALL of it. We had a pineapple, star fruit, granny smith apple, strawberries, blackberries, Ya pears, kiwi fruit, a horned melon, a honeydew melon, a grapefruit, gold nugget oranges, a blood orange, a dragon fruit, a coconut (let’s just pretend it’s a fruit for now), grapes, an avocado, a papaya, a lemon, a lime, and a banana. The mangos at the store just didn’t look ripe and I wasn’t going to waste my money and bad mangos. By voice we cast our votes: Oooooooo, yummy! or Eeeewww, yucky!
The pineapple and honeydew were the ultimate winners.
It was fun to guess what the inside of each fruit would look like. Some of them were really strange. In fact I had to watch a couple of YouTube videos on how to cut open some of these natural beauties because I had never, ever even seen them before.
I’m going to say that the best comment of the day was about the Papaya seeds (because we of course examined that each fruit actually did contain seeds.) If you haven’t seen papaya seeds before, they are small, round, muddy brownish gray in color, a little slippery, and they stink! And they kind of look like turds. (Just being honest!) The kids thought they were fascinating until one child shouted in alarm, “I think I saw it just move!” Sudden ly the interest in the seeds was gone.
As each mom came to pick up their child we led them to our art gallery where they could Oooooooo and Aaaaahhh over our still life creations. (I am obviously biased in my son’s favor, but I think my favorite is the one with the basket floating on the ocean and an eagle swooping down to snatch the fruit.) Overall I think it was all a great success. I will miss these little kids – some are moving on to bigger and better things, while some I will still see next year (or the year after) as we start up neighborhood preschool 3 for the younger siblings.
For now, though, I am tired. My head hurts. My throat hurts. And I have some nasty tropical fruit in my fridge I need to figure out what to do with.
Preschool is all over. I’m going to call it a tie.