Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Teaching: Searching for the Old Magic

When everything is starting to fall into place in my life (visa, insurance, flat, etc.) and my weekends aren't a blur (Happy Sober January!), I find that I have so much time and energy to focus on becoming a better teacher. I spent a lot of my Christmas vacation and the time afterward working on a curriculum for the year. I outlined monthly themes, holidays, activities related to themes and holiday, songs, and stories. The appendix for songs alone is 26 pages long. But when I got back to school at the beginning of January, I saw Ruzenka's new curriculum book. It explained every Czech holiday of the year including the origins, traditions, songs, stories, and games. I would be hard pressed to remember a time that I felt so jealous. Why couldn't I have this for Anglo-American holidays? It put my macaroni-necklace encouraging Scholastic brand "Preschool Almanac" to shame. I looked at the two books I had been using to write my curriculum and thought, Foj! I deserve better, my children deserve better, there must be better!
So, I turned to the internet. I searched World Cat; I searched Amazon. Then, I thought, this is a job for a Steinerian press! I pulled out a book about kindergarten education that I had purchased at the Sunbridge book shop but never used. Hawthorn Press. As it turns out, it's an English company which made ordering books online much easier. I decided upon a book called Fesitvals Together because it includes Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu festivals. It seemed appropriate, as I am expected to teach from an American perspective and use our holidays--and is the beauty of America not its being a tossed salad of cultures?

I received it only a few days later and fell in love. I haven't read it cover to cover--but it has recipes, stories, crafts, and songs. I feel so much better about my curriculum having used this as a guide. I started to remember the magic that I used to see in early childhood education. I have been trying to organize the school and toys in a way that reminds me of Hartsbrook, so I looked at my own pictures of when I used to work at Cricket and then I searched the website for more. I found this video:

Hartsbrook Early Childhood Enrollment Video from Klituscope Pictures on Vimeo.

My heart swells to remember working there. I could wish for nothing else in life. When I worked there, I felt the endless possibilities of childhood. I felt the magic all around me. We lived in a world of fairies and gnomes and beauty. I try to keep this in the back of my mind all day at work. Remember the magic.

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