MY MORNING AT PRESCHOOL
As a former preschool teacher, I was thrilled to spend a couple of hours with the beautiful children of the Meeting House Preschool that meets in our basement. I was immediately welcomed with “Whose mom are you?” and “You could come to my house, how about next Tuesday?”
When I arrived, thirteen children were proceeding in an orderly fashion to wash their hands and locate their name tags at the snack tables, where several lively conversations took place as they munched pretzels and yogurt. The yogurt cartons were dutifully saved for recycling.
Then the morning’s work continued. The teachers assigned small groups of children to “centers” where they worked and played until the teachers rotated them. Every child explored each area in the course of the morning. I figured the “sunshine room” would be a happy spot, and sure enough when I went over there I was served play pizza, tea, and cupcakes, by two serious little girls. We talked about what ingredients might be in the food, and about their geometric shapes.
Over at the writing center, there was a worksheet with the themes of Spring and the number 8. Older children counted and colored 8 flowers and butterflies, and then drew 8 spiders (and very carefully made sure each had 8 legs!); for the youngest children this station was an opportunity to share markers, identify colors, and hone their early writing skills with crayons and markers.
At the research table, two children helped each other locate owls in an Audubon field guide, and on a computer, and then used their observation skills to draw their own crazy, colorful, owls.
Art tables allowed the children to express themselves through colorful paints, using brushes and stamps. In the block corner, young architects built castles and garages.
The teachers circulated, keeping a watchful eye on activities and encouraging sharing, cooperation, and creativity. At times they called the whole class together for a music/movement activity, in which they all participated happily.
The theme of Springtime was everywhere: a bug floor puzzle, a story about planting seeds, paintings of flowers, little critters in tanks. The walls were covered in glorious paintings in the style of famous artists: did you know that right here in Orleans we have little budding Picassos, Matisses, Van Goghs and Monets?
The atmosphere was joyful, and yet the kids were polite and followed classroom routines. Maureen Vigneau and Sue Kiklis are creative, caring, and dedicated in every aspect of their teaching. I am so proud that The Federated Church is home to this happy little community of learning.
The oldest of the children are excited about graduating to Kindergarten, and I could see that they have been well-prepared for that next big step. I know our prayers and best wishes go to our little graduates, as they head out into a bigger world; to all the families, that their summer will be filled with sunshine and happy activities; and to the teachers, that they may catch a little R & R before they begin planning for next fall.