Each morning our students arrive at school, ready for a long day. They are required to leave the security of home and family and face the world. Living in a city plagued by poverty and violence, they seek to find their identity.
The stakes are high, and their parents and teachers want the world for them.
Who are these students? They are citizens living in one of America's poorest and most dangerous cities. For many of them, school is the safe haven. The classroom they enter has starfish and seahorses, rocks and magnets, wasps nests and ostrich eggs. Their home life experiences are limited. They won't be traveling. Disney is a dream, and pictures are taken on a phone and left unprinted. Who are my students? They are my blessings and the future.
One of our responsibilities as preschool teachers is to instill in the children skills that they will need for the rest of their lives. One of these skills is returning things to where they belong. We do this by creating pictures of the materials around the room and labeling each item. They can't read, but they can match items to the pictures. Laminating the pictures allows the items to be handled and exchanged without damage. One of my favorite things to do is to create my own puzzles that reflect the current study. The laminator has enabled the children to use and reuse puzzles over time. When a child has worked very hard on an art project I will offer to laminate it for them. They love seeing their work protected.
Parent-teacher conferences are coming up.
It is my practice to send home file folders with activities parents can use to assist their children in learning skills that are needed for them to be successful. I send home number bingo, banana count and a variety of other games. All are laminated. They can be used until the skill is mastered and then returned. I have found that the children display great progress when parent and teacher are working together.
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