Today was a different kind of Valentine’s Day for me. I recently began teaching preschool, and so far I’m having a blast! I’m learning new things about this age group all the time, and my days are filled with smiles, laughs, hugs, and fun. Today was my first holiday party in preschool, and while I’ve hosted many Valentine’s parties in elementary school, preschool is a different story!
One thing I’ve learned about (well, not so much learned as solidified my thinking about) preschoolers is that they need routine. Anything out of the ordinary turns their world upside down. So, a day where we get to dress out of uniform, hand out Valentine’s cards and candy, and have a party filled with treats is definitely out of our routine. From the moment my little ones arrived, they were literally bouncing around the room, unable to contain their excitement of the day ahead.
We began the day normally, practicing our writing, but they were having difficulty concentrating. After that, we moved to the carpet for calendar time, where we review our day and basics like colors, numbers, letters, etc. They were having none of it. Imagine ten preschoolers, all doing their own thing…rolling around on the carpet, talking to their friends, interrupting other friends, getting up off the carpet to show me their Valentine’s cards, looking around the room, taking off their shoes, etc. My attempts at normalcy were thwarted by the buzz of Valentine excitement in the air. To get our wiggles out, we sang and danced to our favorite song, Freeze Dance. OK, let’s try this again. Same thing. Chaos. Well, that didn’t work. Now what? I shut off all the lights and led them in some breathing exercises, practicing being mindful. That seemed to calm them down a bit.
Giving up on calendar time, we got in a circle to talk about the meaning of Valentine’s Day. I shared that Valentine’s Day was a day to show people that we like or love them and to be good friends. I said we would go around the circle and share what we like about our friends. Modeling for them, I shared that I liked Captain’s smile, and how it always made me smile to see him so happy. “Who wants to share something they like about their friend?”
Alani raised her hand. I asked her who she wanted to talk about. “Rosie.”
“And what do you like about Rosie?”
A big grin spread across her face. “Cupcakes!”
“Alani, what do you like about Rosie?”
“I like cupcakes.”
“OK, but what do you like about Rosie?”
“I like when she gives me cupcakes.”
Chuckling to myself, I had to give it to her. I’d like it if someone gave me cupcakes, too. Mind you, no one had given Alani cupcakes today. Preschoolers are just funny.
“Who else would like to share something they like about their friends?”
J.J. raised his hand, and said that he wanted to share something about James.
“OK, great. J.J., what do you like about James?”
Clearly we are not understanding the concept. At that point, I shared a few more examples of what I liked about different friends in the class. “I like how Lanla is such a good listener. I like how excited and full of life Alani is. I like how Lali always helps her friends. I like how Namping always uses English when he talks to his friends.”
“Let’s try this again. Who wants to share?”
Saint raised his hand. He, too, wanted to share what he liked about James.
“OK, Saint, what do you like about James?”
Laughter erupts in the classroom. Everyone thinks this is the funniest thing they have ever heard.
“Now Saint, is that nice to say about our friend? We use kind words in our class.”
The giggling doesn’t stop. Looking up at the clock, I am relieved to see that it’s time for P.E. “OK everybody, let’s line up.”
After recess, we had our party, complete with making jam sandwiches cut into hearts, decorating cookies, and making Valentine’s cards for our moms and dads. We passed out our Valentine’s cards and had a blast opening them up after nap time. A day filled with fun and laughter is always good, but I sure hope we can get back to normal tomorrow. 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! ❤