Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tot School Thursday - Feelings

Tot School Thursday was a roller coaster.  It was good that drop off happened the way that it did.  I was glad all the moms left promptly.  Thank you.  The majority of the Thursday class is younger than the Tuesday class, and none of them have ever been away from mom on a consistent basis, so they are still adjusting.  It may take 2 months for them to get into the groove of tot school.  Kids adjust much more quickly if you drop them off every day at a daycare (about 2 weeks) but when we only meet once a week it will take a little while longer.  There were a lot of tears for the first 20 minutes of tot school.  I appreciate my patient neighbors who were having breakfast out on their balcony.  They shared words of encouragement sharing about how they admired what I do and that they just love our garden.  After about 20 minutes of holding kids and distracting them with different toys, activities, and snack time the storm of emotions calmed.  They are still adjusting and when one cries it becomes a chain effect so that 2 or 3 more cry.  Once we got going though it was a great day. 
 Snack and toys and games were all out at the beginning of tot school as I tried distraction with everything I had available.  We had official snack time later at 10 like we always do, it was just a lighter snack since much of it had already been eaten.
 We did a lot of playing in the sandbox and exploring the backyard.  I honestly didn't even pull out the the tot pack because I didn't want to create any waves.  We just explored and played as naturally as possible.

 It was so fun to watch their joy in scooping and dumping the sand and ringing the doorbell of the playhouse.
 These two girls even started working together to fill the big bucket up with sand.

 The bikes were definitely a big hit as well.

 They also loved the pegboard and coloring on the big chalkboards on the fence.
 The bike riding led us to the path along the back of the house and looking at the garden became very exciting.

 They got to pick a couple of flowers and explore their scent and see how far they could throw them into the garden :)
 Art was very interesting.  It's still a bit of convincing to get kids who haven't been to tot school before to put on a smock.  EMan and LilGalA are always great examples and put on their smocks first.  We did basic finger painting and I put small amounts of different colors on their paper.  Some kids dove right in with their whole hands (EMan and LilGalA), some kids were only interested in painting with the tips of their fingers (LilManD and LilGalP), one child (LilGalB) didn't really want to touch the paint at all, and one child (LilManJ) wasn't interested in participating in art, but would watch from the bike a few feet away.  It just goes to show you that toddlers are really good at identifying what they need when and is the whole basis for how I run tot school.  I introduce an idea, a game, toy or activity and if it attracts the attention of a child they can do the activity according to their needs.  If a child chooses to watch from a bike or poke at the paint like it might bite them back they are still participants, just more in a "Lurking" manner, which is exactly what they need to be doing.  I'm very much a lurker in a few aspects of my life.  I watch others and learn from them without feeling the need to "get my hands dirty."
 Lil'GalP continued to paint long after the other kids had gone to explore different ideas.  I can't stress enough that each toddler is doing exactly what they need to be doing to grow and develop into fantastic adults.
 I pulled out the mirrors and a few of our books about feelings.  The mirrors were a hit!
 The books didn't draw as much attention when I was reading them, but everyone wanted to hold the book and "read" the book themselves, or play elsewhere.  I love these kids and am thoroughly enjoying watching them learn to be more independent and choose what they'd like to do throughout our days in tot school.  I look forward to seeing everyone next week.
I do apologize that the Thursday pictures tend to get lost in all my activities of trying to clean, organize and have a weekend.  It's the last class I do for the week and after it I have so much other stuff going on.  Thank you for your patience in waiting for the post of pictures.  I appreciate it.

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