Thursday, February 5, 2015

Community Helpers!

This is probably my favorite week of all! 
We began the week with the phrase: 
"When I grow up, I want to be..." 

I actually had a paper outside of my classroom asking all of the parents to answer the question. My kiddos thought it was hysterical to hear that some of their parents wanted to be astronauts, ballerinas, and veterinarians! My kids started answering the questions with answers such as pink power ranger, princess, and teacher. Given they are three, my main goal is to increase their vocabulary regarding community helpers and facilitate dialogue surrounding the subjects. 

Seeing that I am a Child Life Specialists, you know I was excited to break out all of my medical play equipment! I even had some x-Rays, doll wheel chair, and crutches that the kids loved playing with. We've read books about firefighters, doctors, policemen, nurses, construction workers, etc. but my favorite book has been the one called When I Grow Up.  It was a great book and had the traditional preschool community helpers as well as ideas such as movie star, architect, pilot, fashion designer, and archeologist. The illustrations are also great! 

One circle time, I brought out an ambulance and allowed the kiddos to direct the conversation (of course clearing up misconceptions along the way:). It was really interesting to see how there little minds associate events and items. It just makes me smile to see how real life Piaget's pre-operational stage and Erikson's initiative vs. guilt stage is. The magical thinking that occurs in my classroom on a daily basis melts my heart. 

From the ambulance, we discussed car "crashes" (not accidents... they corrected me). We had an ambulance, firetruck, and police car. We talked about each one having a job in the case of an emergency. Then we followed the ambulance to the hospital. Here my child life brain was on high alert as we discussed the hospital and all the things that happen there. 

Since x-Rays were the topic of the day and several children had experience with them before, they really enjoyed exploring the "pictures of bones" and guessing what each body part was. 

After circle time, they had centers, and I just sat back and really listened to the dialogue they created while manipulating all of the new medical play items I had set out. Next week one of our moms, who is a RN, is coming to share with us! So, do not worry, this is just the beginning! 

Thursday was all about firefighters. We put together a giant floor puzzle of a firetruck... TOGETHER... being the key word there. We are working on taking turns, matching up colors, and finding straight edges. We read a book called Fred the Firefighter during circle time, which had great illustrations, accurate terminology, and discussed fire safety. We also learned how to Stop, Drop, and Roll. 

Then, the highlight of the day was the visit from a firefighter. One of the kiddo's daddy is a firefighter. He brought all of his equipment and wasn't afraid to be silly with them while he got them to "help" him get dressed for a fire. He talked them through not being scared of his equipment because firefighters are here to help us. One or two of the kids really didn't respond well to the firefighter, so we walked outside the classroom while he was talking to the other kids. 

(Side note: It's important to realize that for pre-school age children and their magical thinking brains, people dressed up in costumes, masks, or firefighter equipment can be scary. Even though I did my best to prepare them, anxiety is a real thing.)  

Another big accomplishment for the week in my classroom is cutting. We have been slowly exploring scissor use and building fine motor skills in order to learn cutting skills. One of my favorite center activities I have been setting out is play dough and scissors. This allows them to work on proper usage without wasting a ton of paper! Our saying is, "Thumbs up!" because their initial instinct is to turn their thumb under in order to use the scissors. 

This is my Eva, her mom is another teacher. She was so proud of her heart she cut out!  

These last few weeks have just been so much fun in the classroom, I wanted to share. Remember, I only teach part time, so anything I want to do has to be done within the confines of 3 days a week for only 3 hours. This creates some conflict sometimes because there is so much I want to show them, but not enough time in the day! 

Stay tuned for more to come on my child life adventures in the classroom! 
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P.S. Graduate school is still kicking my booty, but I am learning so much. I am in the research project development phase, so I may be calling on you readers for some ideas coming up here in the next few weeks!