August is a busy month for many people in early care and education. You may find yourself busy ordering materials for the upcoming year, rearranging furniture, changing decorations, and learning about new children who will soon be entering your program. All of this on top of preparing for a new school year at home if you happen to be in school or have a family of your own. It is a good idea to set aside some time this month to consider the back-to-school environment you want to create for the children in your care.
There are many things to consider when preparing for a new school year. Some ECE professionals reflect on the curriculum to identify what worked last year and opportunities for improvement. Some teachers meet with colleagues to discuss the abilities and needs of the students who will be transitioning into their classrooms. Many providers freshen up the environment with new shelf labels and creative bulletin boards. You probably have your own favorite get-to-know-you activities that you use at the start of a new year.
These are all very valuable elements that contribute to quality care for young children. However, there is often so much to do that our efforts can become a little disjointed. Perhaps a central theme would help to focus our work? Take a moment to consider the theme classroom community.
Here are a few important messages children receive when they are part of a classroom community:
- You are valuable and your contributions are important.
- We take care of each other and you are safe here.
- This is your space and you belong here.
- These materials belong to everyone.
- You have a voice and your opinion matters.
- You have choices here and I respect your choices.
Using this frame of mind, can you think of ways to focus your back to school efforts?
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