Spring is in the Air!
As soon as the first warm day following winter arrives, I start to have summer on my mind. I skip right over “spring” and start to imagine summer. This is because as a regular education teacher in a public school, I have the luxury of not working in the summer. It seems though, that people are naturally inclined to say, “I can’t wait for (fill-in-the blank)” which typically is filled in with an educator’s next day off. I can’t wait for winter break, I can’t wait for spring break, I can’t wait for summer break, etc. With summer lurking right around the corner, most educators by this point have mentally “checked out” and are really living in the summer moment. While the end is in sight, here are a few things to keep you, and your students engaged.
Field trips are a great experience for children. If you work in a lower-income community, most of the children you care for, probably have never ventured beyond their own front door. Something as simple as a “walking” field trip, can be educational and fun for children. While walking in the neighborhood, point out community helpers (crossing guards, police, fire, other workers, etc.). You can look at flowers, birds, squirrels, or even point out litter on the ground and have a lesson on keeping our Earth clean. If possible, children could bring a towel or blanket and you could even have a picnic outside. Chances are, the children in your early childhood center probably do not experience this often.
Some popular tourist destinations, such as museums, zoos, and even colleges and universities will allow young children to visit for free, or at a significantly reduced rate. As an early childhood educator, there are a lot of resources available to you, and sometimes all you need to do is ask. Send an email to any local place that would be interesting to visit. See if it is a good fit for your group of children. If price is an issue, explain this to the person in charge of scheduling your group field trip. Sometimes there are less expensive days to visit. Your early childhood center could also consider a small fundraiser, even if it is something as simple as selling pretzels, a bake sale, or lollipops. The funds could be used to reduce the cost of the trip.
Children also love to help, and this time of year is a good time to re-organize your classroom, especially on a rainy day. Ask the children their opinion and see if you are able to move furniture around (as long as it is still within code), and change-up the room a bit. Switch your centers locations and ask the children to help move the bins of toys and materials.
Anything to get you and your children outside is always a good thing. Fresh air and sunlight can feel great and can keep these last couple of months occupied with a change of view. Break-up that monotonous routine and have lunch outdoors!