This week we have the pleasure of interviewing Michelle and Betty, two teacher assis…no, TWO AMAZING CO-TEACHERS of the Nursery program.
I can attest to their amazing work, as my two and a half-year-old son started nursery crying and not able to articulate any thoughts on day one, and is now able to understand the routines and is able to express his emotions, all in a span of six short months.
This is no small feat, as my son is one of 14 other students in the class.
So my hat goes off to the amazing nursery program! You guys are rock star educators!
Now, onto the questions.
1. What did you want your students to know or understand?
Michelle: I wanted the children to understand they can enjoy the time without their family.
That school is a place where they can feel a sense of safety, thus allowing them to start learning about their uniqueness.
Betty: For me, I wanted them to understand the information about them and using that to form knowledge.
2. What skills did you want your students to gain?
Michelle: First, Self-confidence. The knowledge they don’t need their family to do a lot of things for them, they can do it by themselves. I have seen this help children make more connections and create more friendships.
Second, is to properly know and show their emotions. This allows them to use their language to express emotions and communicate with friends. This empowers them to take ownership and responsibility to make their own choices (even at this young age).
Third, is to help them understand the world is not all about them.
Betty: There are FIVE main things I wanted them to understand.
First, social skills/behavior. This plays a huge impact on their communication and interaction with others.
Second, Language. Extend their use of language and develop vocabulary to improve communication.
Third, Independent thinking and problem-solving. Cause and effect, starting with why and reasoning; it all helps them become better problem solvers.
Four, physical skill. Learning about gross and fine motor skills to keep themselves and others safe.
Lastly, emotions. How to control oneself and how to handle feelings in order to improve communication and interaction with others.
3. How did you teach this lesson in the past?
Michelle: In the past, I would guide them and demo how to do something the right way, while simultaneously explaining the reason of why it was a good choice.
This required helping with language so they could communicate with friends, but more importantly, caring and connecting with the children; going to their level, listening, and giving hugs (a lot of them).
Betty: I would use interactions to role model behavior. This could take the form of telling them directly, modeling actions, reading books/stories, and through songs.
4. How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?
Michelle: The best teacher is experience. I learned a lot of it on the job and learning from other teachers.
Today, I try to give the children small choices, as if you only ask them “yes and no” questions, they will always say no.
Additionally, I do not tell them what they are doing is “wrong,” rather I try to engage them by saying
“how about if you…”
To take corrective action.
Lastly, if a student cries I direct them back to routines. This has two main benefits. First, it allows them to express their emotions. Second, they feel a safe knowing that they will see their parents again at the end of the day.
Betty: I believe in the power of collaboration. First, I observe the situation so I can understand it. Then, I discuss it with workmates to look for strategies and ideas. This provides a few different ways to solve the problem.
ECC classrooms. Poking in your head in one will open you up to new ways of teaching and learning.