PreKGA where art thou?
As I sit inside my empty prekindergarten classroom, eagerly awaiting a ‘ping’ from my laptop, I think to myself, I wonder how my sixteen children are doing? Obviously, I understand that they are not biologically mine however, they hold a place in my heart and will continue to do so, years after they leave my class. During these strange times, one questions the real role of an educator. Our job is not just simply to educate, but it is to nurture, care and love these small individuals that we are used to interacting with on a day to day basis.
I find myself looking through their photographs and sighing with a tear drop of pride in my eye. I pick up a toy within the classroom and instantly recall a ‘lightbulb moment’ in which they acted out a narrative based upon Eric Carle’s ‘The very hungry caterpillar.’ The joy that my children bring to me each day, cannot be translated into words.
Nobody could have predicted this scenario and as usual, the teaching community has come together as one and are doing everything possible to ensure that each child can continue their learning journey. Some days we are full of good-spirit and the levels of enthusiasm run high. Other days we are worried about loved ones and are missing our families back in our home countries. Nevertheless, we keep the music playing, even if at times like now.
We got together as a team and mapped out what distance learning would look like, at Hamilton, for our little ones. I must say, it is extremely hard without the daily cuddles and little smiley faces.
We created a plan of action and basically started straight away. On a serious note, this was not an easy task. Not every teacher feels comfortable on camera, and the thought of going on the big screen in people’s homes can be more than daunting. Such a major part of Early Years teaching involves child-led and child- initiated play therefore, transforming the interactions to behind a screen seems somewhat ineffective.
I am pleased to say that I have been overwhelmed with the response from parents. I watch videos of them mimicking a ‘teacher tone voice’ and supporting their child with writing their name or counting to 10. I have had various messages from them enquiring about new learning activities and how they can further encourage their child. Both the parents and I have had a joint quest in sharing the ‘light bulb’ learning moments and I think there is a new level of appreciation for what teachers do. I particularly enjoy the messages in which parents ask me, ‘How do you get my child to sit down for more than three seconds?’ and the ‘Thank you Miss Bailey for all that you do’ notes.
The main point that I am trying to make is that teachers really do love their children. We are devoted educators passionate about what we do. Why do we do this? Because we are ultimately accountable for the foundation stages in these young people’s lives. This is where it all begins.
I would like to personally thank the parents of my children for all their support, hard work and constant enthusiasm. I could not ask for more.
Miss Bailey. (From behind a screen)