Shaadiqah Solomon Assistant
Elraine Fredericks Teacher
The unique selling point of our class is our outside area at the back of our classroom which is exclusive for our class only. It enables us to set out activities for our children who include art and even group play activities. It also allows me to have music and movement lessons half of the class while Whitney interacts with the other half. The children enjoy working in these small groups and it is a great opportunity for me to observe and assess them and also to just spend time with them within the smaller group.
It is great that our children are able to eat and sleep in their own classroom without the interference of the other age groups. We have aftercare staff which come into our class to serve lunch and assist with bathroom and sleep routine while the teacher and assistant prepare activities for the next day.
After sleep /rest time, children are assisted by the aftercare teacher to get their bags ready for aftercare. They are also given juice and are given extra care when they have just woken up. The transition into aftercare is made easy for them and they feel ready for their next play session.
Key learning areas
We focus mainly on Social and Emotional development. Children are encouraged to share and wait their turn. We place focus on being kind and showing empathy towards our friends. As a teacher I treat each child as an individual and allow them to express their own thoughts and ideas. Confidence and a good self-esteem is a very important skill to develop. We build self-esteem by setting up our art room so that children can choose what they feel comfortable with. This gives me the opportunity to observe all children and identify the children who will need some one on one input. The children always enjoy working with a teacher and this slowly builds confidence even in the areas which they once found challenging.
Another way to encourage confidence is our morning ring times. We allow children to talk about themselves and participate in discussions. Even the quieter personalities are included and motivated to participate. We create a feeling of community in the class and later in the year the children are more comfortable playing in groups and sharing ideas with their peers.
Our story times include role-playing. After reading a story, we have volunteers who act out the story. This is great fun, even for the children who are watching the ‘show’
It is also important that children understand that we are all different and have different strengths. To help them feel good about their strengths, we have our own little talent shows. Here they can show off their ‘talent’-whether it be dancing, singing nursery songs or rhymes or even doing a cart wheel. Everybody needs to feel good about themselves and then they will enjoy what their peers have to offer too.
Another important area of learning is gross motor development. One again, we will use our outside area to set up movement equipment and we have a wonderful jungle gym which caters for all children at different levels of their gross motor development. Those who are not ready for the fireman’s pole may use the slide to move down to the ground. For the ones who need something more challenging, we have the monkey bars and they can move to the highest level of jungle gym.
The children of this age love all kinds of messy activities. We are not afraid to bring sand and water into our class during winter times. Finger painting is also a favourite. They also love all baking activities. Many of them spend most of their time in our fantasy area where they socialize with their friends pretending to be whatever they want to be.
A sense of belonging
The Key outcome for the children in my class is to create an environment where they feel secure and safe away from their mommies and daddies. I also want them to feel a sense of belonging, especially because most children stay for aftercare and have a long day away from their own homes.
I have an Early Childhood Development, Level 5 Certificate form College Of Cape Town.
It’s all about choices
My children are always given choices within boundaries. I encourage them to choose actions which will get them positive response from the teachers in their class. This is motivated by stars or a special stamp and lots of attention is placed on those who choose to do the ‘right’ thing.
We also have a ‘think about it’ time, which is used when children hurt their friends. This also depends on what the cause was of their reaction as children of this age are easily irritated and upset. We then have steps for solving the problem.
The class reps for the Penguin class are: