Thursday, October 07, 2010

Letters I and J and a new calling

Well, it was my turn to teach in preschool this week. I had the letter I and the letter J. (Click the links for the full reports on what we did.) Tuesday went pretty well. Today was not the greatest. I don't feel quite so badly about it now, after the fact, but I felt pretty horrible during and immediately following. Nothing I planned seemed to pan out quite like I'd hoped, and I just felt inadequate in the classroom management dept. I have a couple good friends who are real preschool teachers (you know, with training and stuff) whom I'm going to observe next week. Hopefully I can learn a few skills. It should be helpful in my new calling at church, as well, since I was just called as the sr. nursery leader. (working with kids 2-3 yrs. old for 2 hours of church)

Any veteran nursery leaders or workers with ideas that have worked well for you? Our nursery is in serious need of revamping our schedule so we have more structure. I'm just not 100% positive about how to go about it. All I know is that I don't want 45 min. of free play with kids 18 mo.-3 yrs. all trying to play with the same toys!!!! I've already gotten some good ideas from my friend Cassie that I hope to implement soon, but I would love any and all suggestions.


MDawg said...

My toddler had a hard time going to nursery at first. But one day he walked in and there were bubbles! The nursery leaders were blowing bubbles and since that day, he loves to go!

Marzy Dotes said...

Yes on the bubbles. We did that too when I was a nursery leader and the kids loved it. In our nurserys right now they have tables set up and when you come in you either do puzzles or playdough - then the rest of the time is divided into play time, singing time (with primary chorister), lesson, snack time, and we have a Sister Cookie (memeber of the primary pres) that comes in and reads a story and passes out cookies. At the end I think they sit on mats and read books until the parents come to get them. Congrats on the new calling - you will be great. And don't get too discouraged about preschool. I think you are very creative in coming up with great ideas. I have been very impressed with what you have been doing!

Jodi & Chris Reeve said...

I was just released as the nursery leader (for the 3rd time in the last 7 years!) becuase I will be having this baby soon....anyway, I would say the one thing that makes it easier for kids to want to come is STRUCTURE!!! They NEED to know what is coming next and what to expect from every week!

We had play time for the first 30 minutes. I would go to church early set it all up, different bins of toys around the room so the kids wouldn't be on top of each other. Then we cleaned up. Then we went on a walk around the building (you have to make sure you time this so it doesn't happen when SS is being released)and we would look for pictures of Jesus on the walls and talk about them briefly. We would then get back and have a snack. After the snack, we would do a lesson, then we would sit on a blanket and have singing time. After singing time we would do the coloring or other activity that would go along with the lesson. We would then either do puppets or playdoe. At the end we would do bubbles until parents came. I had a buibble machine because most of the time I was there by myself and I needed free hands to take care of other needs. I would often have the bubble machine running at the beginning of nursery too, because kids like them and distract them from parents leaving. Oh, I would also have a CD of primary songs playing in the background and I tried to bring a "special" toys from home each week to make things new and a bin of instruments or whatever to use. We would make a "band" with them and the kids loved it!

Good luck! It is a challenging calling!

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

Our stake has banned bubbles. =( They say it ruins the carpet.

Lindsay said...

That's too bad about the bubbles -- we always resorted to those in the last few minutes to help avert the craziness that naturally develops after 2 hours in a room with a bunch of toddlers.

When we were called as nursery leaders when we first moved into our ward, we weren't replacing anyway -- they'd just had substitutes taking care of nursery for almost a year. So, things were a mess. There was no structure, and that was difficult. So that was the first thing we instituted. I even put up signs with the times so that parents would know what would be going on at any given time. Free play was the first 50 minutes or so. The kids loved that, and even though we occasionally had to break up fights over a lack of toy sharing, it, it was still a part of nursery that the kids loved and looked forward to. Then it was snack time, followed by a short lesson, singing, and then puzzles and books for the last few minutes. It definitely helps to only pull out a few toys at a time, or certain kinds of toys at a time, to help keep the frenzy and mess to a minimum. It also works to sometimes spice things up within the limits of your structured schedule -- like have everyone sit on mats on the floor for singing time instead of on their chairs or whatever.

But no matter how structured you are, nursery can still leave you with a headache -- it did for me anyway. By the end of the 2 hours on some days, we were all ready to scream, and the kids usually were. At times like that, we'd give in and let them play running games -- races to touch the back wall, spinning in circles until they collapsed in dizziness...that sort of things. Or we'd just play Ring Around the Rosy over and over and over...I'm always amazed at how they never seem to get tired of that one. :)

Good luck! You'll be great!`

Lois said...

I just read your I and J days. Very creative. Some days there is nothing that you can do to captivate a pre-schooler. It's OK. It's a successful day when no one is sitting there crying for 2 hours for their Mom.