Magic Moment Memo June 2016

stuffed horse

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend the entire day in one of our inclusive preschool classrooms.  With staying relevant—and reasonable—at the forefront of my agenda, I am fortunate that my role affords me many occasions for close, personal interactions with very young children and their families.  I haven’t, however, spent an entire day—from drop off to pick up—as the lead teacher in the classroom in quite some time.  Having facilitated a successful morning of fun and learning, I was feeling quite exhausted myself when, alas, it was rest time.  I’ve always thought of that a silent, collective sigh of relief is shared between early childhood educators and caregivers once the children begin to settle down onto their mats. 

Reflecting upon our day so far, I felt satisfied knowing that although I didn’t handle every situation ‘perfectly’, I tried, in every moment, to use my skills in the most responsive ways that I could.  At the end of each day, my ultimate goal is that the children each know that they matter.

At about five minutes into rest time, soothing music playing gently in the background, all the children beginning to settle onto their cots, I detect a tiny whimpering.  Scanning the room, I locate the dysregulated child, working with all of the tools in her kit, to ‘tough it out’— to make it through this rest time without her stuffed unicorn to provide her the little bit of comfort that she needs in this moment.  Thinking quickly on her feet, the assistant teacher offered the child a stuffed horse from the dramatic play area, saying “I know she’s not your unicorn, but she’s sleepy right now too — maybe you want to nap with her?”  The child accepted the replacement and quietly settled off to sleep.

When it was time for the children to rejoin the waking world, we—the adults in the room– opened the shades, turned off the sleepy music, and intentionally introduced the artificial lighting back into the classroom.  The children drowsily collected their bedding, washed their hands, and came to the table to join their friends for snack.  While the rest of the children collected their belongings, one little girl remained at the table.  “Ms. Maria?” she said to the assistant teacher; “I appreciate that you gave me the horse at rest time.”

Katelyn Rasmussen, MS ECE, IMH-E (II)

Board of Trustees, NJAIMH

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