My first day as the new Assistant Teacher for the Toddler After school Childcare Program was very pleasant and I took time to settle in and make observations. The program has about 8-10 toddlers and three teachers including myself. We have three main locations; on the playground, in the gym or in a classroom.
When I arrived at 2:30p, the toddler classes were finishing a nap and began to merge on the playground as the children woke up. I sat on a bench near the swings and J approached me soon after. While looking at his feet, he introduced himself and asked what my name was. I was surprised that he approached me however, his curiosity may have led him on and I was at his level sitting on the bench. Not all of the children are as vocal as J and many of them are bi-lingual. When talking to each child, especially when making a point about something, it is important to kneel down and speak in a soft but firm tone. This is a goal that I have set for myself. I have to make a conscious effort to lower my voice and slow things down for the children because I am used to teaching in either an enclosed pool or the gymnasium.
While on the playground it is important to locate the teachers around the equipment so all the children can be seen. Some minor safety concerns while on the playground include a step up/down while going to the area around the swings,roots from a tree, and a car slide. While observing one child prepared to go down the car slide and there was a child in another car at the bottom. There was a soft collision this time and should be monitored whenever outside to make sure only one child uses it at a time. The doors that lead out to the playground from the classrooms have a slightly inclined wooden ramp and the children are discouraged from running and bicycling on it. The Head After school Teacher C, used distraction to keep three little boys off of the ramp and away from the door. A simple distraction such as follow me to the swings or chasing worked well.
Some of the children stay until 4:30p and 5:30p and we provide a snack for those that stay late. A snack usually consists of one protein, one fruit, and one carbohydrate. Today they had grapes, cheese and crackers. They are encouraged to help in every step of the process including passing out materials, fine motor skill manipulation when using a utensil and taking turns. During clean up a compost bucket is used for all biodegradable materials used and scraps,so the children learn to be economically friendly.
After snack many of the children were signed out and picked up by their parents and caregivers. A few boys remained and played in the sand box for the duration of the day. While in the sand box fine and gross motor skills were used to manipulate the sand, dinosaurs and dump trucks around the perimeter.
My goals are set and I can't wait for what tomorrow brings.