Friday, January 10, 2014

2014: New Year, New Rhythm

If you know me, or you've read this blog, even a little bit, you know I LOVE and embrace change.  Learning to embrace change, especially that over which you have no control, is an acquired skill.  It has taken many years and quite a bit of hardship for me to understand that flexibility in the face of any major or minor variation is a wonderful trait to have.

The most recent modification at Seedlings has been the closure of the afternoon preschool classes, leaving only three mornings per week of work for me and school for my boys.  My first thought was, 'what in the world am I going to do with all this time?  I'm going to go insane!'  But after careful consideration, I realized that all of this free time would only be a plus for our family and for the preschool.

I began by slightly altering our daily rhythm, both for school and family.  Our preschool day now looks like this:

Arrival and Snack Preparation
Nature Walk 
Circle Time and Stories 
Play, Explore and Discover Time 
Art and Handwork
Clean Up and Hand Washing
Independent Reading and Classroom Chores 
Music and Movement
Closing Circle and Goodbyes

The times are an approximate guide, I never watch the clock, I usually just feel when it's time to move on to the next activity.  I also added a new snack rhythm as follows:

Monday - Fruit Salad
Wednesday - Bread
Friday - Vegetable Soup

It has only been one week, but I've already seen the children, especially my own and those who attend all three days adapting to the new rhythm.

We've also adopted a new-ish family rhythm for after preschool.  Monkey and Bear have lunch and then Bear goes for his nap, while Monkey has 'rest time' either in his room or we snuggle up together on the couch for some quiet time together.  Monkey's rest is shorter than Bear's nap, which leaves time for games, books, etc.  He's always had difficulty sharing me with other children, even though he absolutely loves having them around.  His difficulty usually manifests in less than desirable behaviors, which causes a less than desirable reaction from me.  Getting special time with me each day after class has helped us connect and has made our school days easier.

Having my afternoons free has also left me with much more time to prepare and plan for the upcoming school days, which means more fun and in-depth activities for my students.  I no longer feel like I'm scrambling around trying to balance household chores, family commitments, extracurricular activities and preschool planning.  Overall, my stress level has been greatly reduced - probably a good thing since baby #3 will be shaking things up in less than 3 months!

This week, I even attempted my first in-class wet felting project.  I've never tried it with the children before because I was constantly worried about running out of time, but with so much preparation, it went off without a hitch.  Here are some pictures from my favorite project of the week!

And now we have the amazing masterpiece decorating our classroom and reminding us that slowing down and simplifying are ALWAYS good things!

Have you made resolutions this year?  I'd love to hear what's in store for you!

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