This doesn’t necessarily belong under student teaching but because it’s similar to gaining experience being in a classroom, I’m putting it under this category. I’m taking three courses this summer and one of these courses is Instructional Strategies in Early Childhood where we are exploring the concepts of play amongst children in the classroom setting. And for that we have to perform our fieldwork in some sort of an early childhood classroom. I finally found a place with the help of my classmate, Katie, who works in a preschool, Chinatown Learning Center, in Philadelphia. It’s an easy commute which makes it easier for me. Today was my first day and I will be going every Wednesday from now to the end of June from 8:30-10:30 am.
I really liked the center. The way it is set up is inviting to both children and parents. Everything is miniature sized for the children starting from the tables, the chairs, cubby holes, sinks where students wash hands when they come in, and even the water fountain. It’s set up like that for them which I really liked. It helped the teachers to see things and teach from the children’s eye level. So they have different centers around the room. There is a science center, a writing center, as well as a center for blocks and dramatic play. One of the teachers pointed out to me that the children tended to stay away from the science and writing centers but flocked to centers like blocks and dramatic play 😊. The centers are all labeled of what is where and what is some of the things called in order to help the children get familiarized to different objects. One thing I noticed was that everything is written in English from the welcome board, to the instructions of how to wash hands, directions, labels, books, etc. this really promoted an environment of English language being spoken in the classroom, despite Chinese probably being their first language. Speaking of which, I was a little bit surprised that the children were speaking English because I as told by Katie that I would probably have to be placed with some of the English speakers as most of the children didn’t speak English. They were conversing with each other and with their teacher in English just fine.
The children are just so cute. I was at a table jotting down notes of the way the classroom looked or how and with who the children played. A little girl came up to me and introduced herself and asked me for my name. She then asks, “Can you help me make a house?” I was like”Yeah” 😊. A little later, another child taps me on the shoulder and introduces himself. And then there are these tiny little beings inviting me to play with them and constantly saying “Miss Sara, Miss Sara, look!, Miss Sara, do you want me to make you a cupcake?, Miss Sara, do you want to play blocks with me?” And my thought at that moment is This is where I want to be. I mean I would still rather like to teach upper elementary but preschool doesn’t seem that bad anymore 😁.