Friday, April 10, 2009

Ideas....ideas please.....

It's that time of the year for teachers... spring burnout. Well.. at least for preschool teachers & I'm guessing all teachers. Rather than look forward to the summer, I struggle this time of year. With a couple of issues, summer planning and a change of age group(the above picture is not of my group of kiddos).

I'm a Early Childhood Educator for a reason - I looove the little guys. I love my big guys too - but my heart is with "teaching" preschoolers. I don't run a classic in home daycare - I run a full program every morning and a camp style program in the summer. That said... by the time I get to April, I'm running low on enthusiasm and drive. Unlike older grades, I don't get breaks for Christmas, Spring break or summers off. I know alot of older grade teachers are suffering through this too as you work at other jobs all summer too. Honestly, we all need a good break at the end of the school year. We don't always get one. I'm tired and burned out and struggling to wrap my head around the summer.

My first struggle is the change of group dynamics in the summer. I have several older siblings, all wonderful kiddos mind you. But when you change up the mix - the game changes too. During the summer there is lots more drama, older kiddo drama, sibling drama, more - "I'm bored" drama. My preschoolers are seldom bored. Then again, the older kids keep the play rolling along and do a great job of including the little guys. The first day of fall this last year, my little guys and I went outside for the first time without the older kids. As a group they all turned around and looked at me like.... now what. LOL I realized they had been the followers all summer, I also realized I had not been the leader. We all laughed and went on a nature hunt - me in the lead. I guess what I'm saying is for me it feels like I work much harder in the summer than the rest of the year to maintain calm and structure. It's the time of the year that I yearn to work less not more.

So in summers past I have done less curriculum in the summer and more just fun stuff. I have come to realize although it sounds less work intensive for me it is not. We tie dye, paper mache, fine art, have a mud/water day, beading, code breaking, gardening.... you get the idea. I won't stop the tie dye week - it has become a tradition & one of my favorite weeks of the year!

I guess I was hoping that all of you amazing, creative women out there might be able to give me some ideas...a shot in the arm. I know once I get the summer program rolling in my head, my enthusiasm will return. So.... I'm looking for some less intensive summer ideas, fun and simple craft, science, nature type ideas that we can do for summer camp. any input here would be a huge blessing!!
Thank you so much, Sarah


KnittingJourneyman said...

Hi Sarah-first thing that comes to mind is finger-knitting--next thing is now I have to go pull out some books and look :-)

Bug collecting and gardening only go so far-my kid is happy collecting rocks and sticks. :-) For a time anyway. :-)

Let me see what else I can dig up....

Christine said...

This is website of home schooling Mom and she does some really fun teaching activities with her kids. You'll find tons of ideas there.

Oh, I fixed the link on my blog if you want to go have a look again.


Anonymous said...

Oooh..this is an excellent question. You have me wondering what types of activities I liked as a kid.
Do the children have reading and writing skills yet? If so, maybe:
- a poetry writing day.
- scavenger hunt
- how about a clean up of a neighborhood (civic responsibility)
- creating a time capsule
- kite building and flying
- an afternoon of cloud watching - how many animals can you find in the sky?

I don't know - some of these may be at a level above the children but they seem like good summer activites.

Hope you get some great ideas/inspiration.

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I like the idea of nature walks with collecting. I'm not a super crafty person and haven't been around young kids for years so I'm not a ton of help there. I know my kids always loved anything that dealt with nature and digging up stuff. Have a blessed Easter! said...

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Renee said...

Sarah I can't think of a thing.

Those children are so lucky to have you it is not funny.


Linda (Artwolf) said...

Leaf prints on cards, pictures etc, they have to collect all different leaves first,that gets rid of some energy first.

Stone pets are really cool, just gather peebles and cut out loads of little felt feet(4 per pet)lizard toungues if you like, stick them on the peeble and glue on googly eyes, then paint them,Squiggles stripes etc. really tiny tots, can have their pets feet and eyes prestuck for them.

Wool pom pom pets similar but in wool, and you can stick on a magnet, for a fridge stick up.

Native american indian, headbands, and paper feathers painted, cardboard shields, arm bands all cardboard, laced together with wool, string.

Australian aboriginee style painting, large blank templates of cut out kangaroos, turtles, crocodiles, boomerangs etc for them to paint, it would also work for native am designs. orcas eagles, wolf bear etc.

Book marks... painting again,punch holes, add wool threads beads to bottom instead of tassels

Eqyptian headbands, and bead necklaces. write their names in picture heiroglyphs.

make Paper beads, glossy colour magazine paper cut in triangles pasted one side and rolled up arounda stick then thread on wool whatever, I say 'wool' alot as it will break, if it gets caught, from a safety point of view.
Goodness I shut up now sorry!!! Lindaxx

Sarah said...

Wow you guys - thank you so very much - WOWOWOWOW! Great ideas!!
Huge hugs, Sarah

Cathy Santarsiero, "The Christmas Corgi" said...

Thanks for the 'bunny wires tips' Sarah! Have a happy weekend! Warmly, Cathy ^..^

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.