Posted on August 20, 2017
"Dreaming Child, Dreaming Child, What Do You See?"
Regardless of number of years teaching, the first week of a new school year still feels brand new. Not because we don't know where we are headed, but because the pages of this year's story is still unwritten. The characters need time to reveal themselves and everyone in the story--children, teachers, parents, are still learning about one another, building trust, and growing relationships.
In growing these relationships, we begin the school year together with home visits for the families new to our program, an open house for all families, and an ice cream social the day before school starts. The home visit is the first brick laid in building a foundation for the partnership between school and home. It is a chance for parents to ask any questions they might have for us, and offers the teachers an opportunity to hear from parents what they want us to know about their child. For the child, it gives them a chance to see this budding relationship in action. Parents and teachers talking, sharing information and beginning an open dialogue with each other. At our Preschool open house, parents shared with us their dreams for "What they would want their child to be like as an adult?" Of all the values shared-- "independent, happy, caring, creative, free, compassionate" rose to the top. As a faculty, the elementary teachers also came up with an almost identical list of character traits and dispositions-- A composition of mindset and soulset that together we strive to nurture in all of us, solid as the concentric rings in the trunk of a steadfast tree.
During our first day together, parents had the opportunity to experience their child's work time first hand with the charge to think about one word to describe the learning that was transpiring as their child worked-- patience, discovery, connected, engaged, story-teller, family, imagination, creativity, cooperation. Each a reflection of our 'environment as a third teacher.'
This year we are fortunate to have a range of parents, some who are starting their very first year of preschool to those who are going on their fifth year of preschool because they have had multiple children come through our program. Even though no two years are ever the same, I think regardless we, parents and teachers ask ourselves the same question from different points of view. Parents are wondering, "Are they seeing my child? Is my child being cared for?" and we are asking ourselves daily, "Have we let every child know he/she has been heard, seen, and felt loved?"
So as the children were taking their nap, some for the first time in school rather than at home, a phrase from one of the children's favorite books came to mind. "Dreaming child, dreaming child, what do you see?" Hopefully if they were dreaming about their first week in preschool, it was filled with the same joy, adventures, growing independence and excitement that you were able to see in the galleries of our week. Even though thinking of the question and phrase while looking at your children asleep is rhetorical and poetic at the same time, it is a question that we can all continue to think about as the children move from preschool all the way up through 12th grade. At which time we can all look back upon this very first week and ask if our dreams for each of them came true.
Here's to the year ahead of us.
The Preschool Team