Tag Archives: Preschool

Lost Boys

imageLast year the stories of my preschool class often revolved around one particular boy – I called him my Pirate – because he and I were often on a gang plank together, holding safe space for each other in that precipice between the ship, (our classroom) and a vast ocean, (the world out there.)

This year, my pirate’s little brother is in my class.  In fact, I have a lot of little brothers in my class and the Wendy in me is realizing this ship is occupied by Lost Boys this year; boys who need a captain, a Peter or a Wendy, but mostly, a mom.  One thing they don’t need is Never Never Land.

Of course I sometimes wish there was a Crocodile loose on this ship, might help me tame the natives.  It is enough to have his ticking clock constantly at my side. I have about 500 hours to be with these Boys and help them learn to stay in their prams. Going for a walk in a pram is way better than getting lost and finding yourself in a place with no future.

5/18 May-be

Putting together a slide show of pictures from a year with a class has got to be one of my most favorite – but incredibly time consuming – activities.

It is finally done and I can go to bed.

5/5 May-be

imageconversation with my 5 year old pirate today

You see that bird over there – the crow?
Crows are smart;
he will learn your face.
When you are out walking,
that crow will look down from a tree
and recognize you,
where ever you go..
walking around, walking around,
that crow will see,
and know,
you are you.

Just like me – next year and the next year,
I’ll see you walking around, walking around,
and I’ll know it’s You
and I’ll say “hi!”

caw! caw!

April shorts – 22

background: we had some extraordinarily hot days last week – 84 in April in the Pacific Northwest, record breaking temperatures.  Tar on our new playground got sticky and our custodial team decided to put sand on it hoping it would lessen it’s tackiness.  Of course my students found their way there….

sand 3

what is it about sand that compels us:
to touch,
and tarry in
this most essential creation
of our universe?

April shorts – 13

I’ve been a preschool teacher for a long time and as long as I’ve been teaching there has always been the “gun” thing happening in my classroom. Preschool boys, not all, but most, like to build – and create – and pretend to shoot – guns. Often.

Of course I say the mantra “there are no guns at school,” but you know what! that is a ridiculous thing to say, because these kids just built them and are playing with them so – enough already! there are guns at school!

What I have found to be more effective – well, lets say more relative – is to talk with my students about their designs, asking how they work and what they are thinking about when they play out their scenarios. Because, after all, these are toys, folks.  Just because a kid creates and plays with guns doesn’t mean he is thinking about shooting people. I’m sorry to say some of my students are allowed to play video games where they shoot at people but most of my students aren’t doing that at home, yet they still like to build guns and pretend to shoot and obliterate an enemy.

My students have created amazing Lego tanks and other types of armored vehicles and yet none of my Legos have any components that are meant to be guns or cannons.  They have created block tanks and playdough fire arms. They have found many ways to configure all sorts of things into weapons that look like they would hurl projectiles. So I have to celebrate the visioning, engineering, and resourceful capabilities of these young designers.

My only caveat is that I request more “creation” than “destruction.”

April shorts – 1

4 years old
enters school with rocks in pocket
ends day by pulling class fish from same pocket

“but why does it need water?”

peaceness – part 2

imagesee yesterday for part 1

not Easter eggs,
my class needs something all together different this spring
palm sized fidgets.

8 cups of playdough
split into 16 balls
32 gloves, layered two together
32 rubber bands

Easter colored stress balls
stress balls

Long John Silver

imageEarlier in the year (here) I described how my students this year are like little pirates and my creative-writing self often feels captive in the hold of a ship sailing on the high seas. A pirate who most often has me walking the plank in my dreams is a young 5 year old I call Long John Silver.

Long John has had me mending sails, swabbing the deck and over a barrel many times this year.  But since the crew and Mr. Silver leave me on my own in the hold at night, I’ve raided the stores of wine and spent some time contemplating how best to get this ship to shore and make my escape.  I know that becoming familiar with the needs of Mr. Long John, and a few other key crew members, is key to my survival.

What I have learned about LJ is that deep down he really wants his crew to like him.  So when I loan him my parrot to give him tips about how to talk and act, he actually puts the bird on his shoulder.  Today was a great example.  He was in a twist because two mates weren’t matching up pieces of the alphabet correctly.  Long John started storming at them and swung his leg (the non-peg kind) and luckily I got there just before it connected.  I came close and whispered that instead of shouting at his friends – (“because no one likes to be yelled at right?”)  he should offer help.  And he did it,  Mr. Silver took my little word-bird, returned to his friends and copied my language exactly.  “May I join you?”

Ho! I’ve seen some land today.  But alas, I’ve got Blackbeard to think about. image

Lessons from a Pirate


In case you don’t know about my pirates, read this post.

I stand facing Captain M. on the swinging bridge on the playground. With arms grasping the rails on each side, his stance is assertive and he looks me keenly in the eye.

“You must say the password to cross!” he commands.

“You mean like ‘open sesame’ or ‘abra ca dabra’?” I ask. I’ve played guessing games with pirates on the playground before, usually every word I guess seems to spark a new idea for a password in the gleaming eye of the pirate. I never learn the password but I do find out a lot about the pirate.

I’m thinking about how this might play out with Captain M when he says earnestly, “No I mean the real password.”

I realize he actually has a word in mind and isn’t likely to change it but I have no clue where it might have come from.  I’m not very up on the movies and games kids are engaged with these days.

“Ok, could you give me a little hint?” I plead.

“Yes. Listen.” And he leans to whisper in my ear:





24 hours later

yesterday I wanted to quit

16 children under the age of 5

only 5 of them have ever been in a school situation before

4 of them have to be reminded to go to the bathroom…..often

one pooped in his pants yesterday

I don’t have a changing table so I’m cleaning poop off a standing child

Not fun

no matter the thoughtful and repetitious demonstrations about how we care for our classroom supplies and how everything has a place and doing a little clean up before we move on

It’s a forever lesson I know….

We’ve only been in session for 4 days but we’re still figuring out the wrinkles in our schedule

so despite poopy pants and getting 10 feet of train track back in a box and tiny pills of playdough off a table and scraped off the bottom of shoes we have to get to lunch at a specific time or our window for a somewhat sedate lunch is gone like the wind….

we barely made it yesterday

and everything I know about teaching young children was not happening

we washed our hands with baby wipes  – big no-no  …..we were flying down the hall pulling kids sideways, they are screaming with delight – not okay in a school building …..and we are plopping kids on stools and plunking food on their plates and commanding them to eat – quick – because the bus will be there in 25 minutes

and when I finally buckled the last kid into those twisted and complicated straps on a hot and sticky bus I went back to the classrom and put my head down on the desk and thought to myself “how am I ever going to make it this year!”

but 24 hours later after going much more slowly through a day and checking in with James at least 10 times today about what to do if he has to go poop

I made it through another day

and I don’t want to quit

because I was a good teacher today

and I know why they give me 16 kids under the age of 5

because what I do will help the next teacher

with 24 kids under the age of 6