New Year’s Day
While New Year’s Eve marks the calendar year, for children, parents, and educators the year turns now. In Portland last night, the change was all around us. The sunset was fiery – orange clouds filling the sky. Opal preschool teacher Carolyn said her backyard was unusually filled with wildlife: a coyote, a raccoon, and an owl, all sending her dog into hysterics. Later into the night, we were hit by a cacophony of thunder and lightning. Summer ended.
When the sun rose, the new year began. Classrooms were prepared to welcome children and inspire comfort and enthusiasm. Parents and siblings were invited to linger, and the community included people on their first day at Opal School as well as many recent graduates. People shared their feelings about “first day back”: Children who woke up at 6:30, asking to be driven to school an hour before doors opened; others whose enthusiasm shifted to worry as they inched toward the front door. Parents offered parting words. “I love you! Stay open!”
Children encountered their new classrooms with a full range of reactions: The relief of finally meeting a previously unknown teacher; seeing a familiar face amongst classmates; noticing the similarities and differences in physical spaces.
New classroom communities began to come together, rituals and relationships feeling different than those lived over the previous eight weeks but familiar nevertheless: talking about how it feels to come together; singing songs; reading books; wondering which materials will wake up stories waiting to be told.
Want to learn more about our current thinking and experiences regarding creating learning communities? Join us at our October 11 professional development workshop. Register here.