August 10, 2015

“You have to bring snacks at Kindergarten.”

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , at 12:01 pm by Lund

It’s a cloudy morning in the LECP playground, early August.  The preschoolers are outside digging in the sandbox, chasing each other around the play structure and pretending to be wolves.   “Let’s be bad wolves,” says one boy to a friend, growling and baring his teeth.  “No,” she replies, “I am good wolf.”  “OK,” he agrees and they bound off together.  In two weeks, six of these preschoolers will move on to Kindergarten.  The teachers have worked with them throughout their time in preschool to build the social/emotional and cognitive skills that they will need to be successful in Kindergarten and have put special emphasis over the past months on helping the children to be excited about this next important step.

Many of the children Lund serves have experienced significant trauma, and the primary focus begins with strengthening children’s social and emotional development. The teaching practices allow children to develop social/emotional competence and self-help skills, as well as offering children the opportunity to explore and experiment safely with different tools and  materials. As children develop, teachers begin to focus more on other skill building activities and curricula that address concepts and domains for learning as addressed in the Vermont Early Learning Standards.

Sharing the playground with children from the toddler room, it is easy to see the difference between the younger kids and these confident, articulate five-year olds.  “Take a picture of me,” one girl shouts as she executes a complex jump from the play structure.  I look at the teacher nervously, “Is that allowed?”  “Oh it’s safe, they do it all the time,” the teacher replies.   These children, and their aerial maneuvers, seem ready for a bigger adventure.  But what do they have to say about it themselves?

Tell me about Kindergarten:

“I’m going to climb a tall tree because they will ask me to.”   – B

“In Kindergarten, I will read books and play.  It’s going to be fun.  The teacher will probably spend the night.  Does the teacher spend the night?”  – J

“It’s a good thing I have a lunchbox.  You have to bring snacks at Kindergarten.  I’m going to bring apples, oranges and goldfish on the first day.”  – A

“Drawing.  I want to do drawing in Kindergarten.  I wish all my friends were going to Kindergarten with me.”  – M

“I know all about Kindergarten because my brother was there.  You get to play on a playground and read with letters.” – J

"This is Jess, my teacher."

“This is Jess, my teacher.”

April 7, 2014

“Hello, hello, hello Spiderman” – Music in the Preschool

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP), Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , , at 8:10 am by Lund

I happened to be heading to the Preschool to talk to one of the teachers one Tuesday morning and walked into a lively and entertaining music and movement session that I really had no choice but to join.  Led by enthusiastic volunteer, Julia Smith, this musical playtime happens once a week.  Julia was connected to Lund through her applied internship class at Champlain College and sees her volunteer placement as very connected to her academic interests, “In the future, I am interested in working with young children that have family issues, as well as family systems and dynamics. After talking to my professor and other classmates and researching Lund, I quickly learned it would be a great fit for me.”

Julia has a  quiet and gentle way with the children and holds their interest with a variety of songs and finger rhymes.  The children have already developed their favorites.  “Let’s do the scarves,” they say reaching for props that Julia has brought with her.  “You forgot to do the name song,” says one little girl who has obviously been holding out for her favorite.  Julia discusses which song she means and starts right in.  All the children want a turn with their names and things are running according to standard appellations until one boy stops to think about his name.  Julia knows his name but she doesn’t hurry him, she waits until he decides whether he wants to offer his name or something else.  “Spiderman,” he says.  Without batting an eyelid, Julia sings his verse to him, “Hello, hello, hello Spiderman, nice to see you, nice to see you…”  This, of course, starts a trend.  We sing to ‘National Guard’ next then ‘Cinderella’, ‘Princess Belle’, and ‘Batman Spiderman Sam’.  “Could we just do Batman?” asks Julia. “No,” comes the reply.  So we sing, “Hello, hello, hello, Batman Spiderman Sam, nice to see you, nice to see you.”   Each of the children takes a turn dancing in the middle of the circle dancing or jumping while they are being sung to.  Though Batman Spiderman Sam stays in his spot, absolutely still with a shy but big smile on his face.  He’s had a hard morning and didn’t want to join in with the singing at first.  He backed away from the group and started to get out other toys and was angry with his teacher when she tried to redirect him to the group.  But with the teacher’s guidance, he couldn’t stay disconnected for long.  By the time his turn in the song came, he was completely engaged.

Julia singing and playing with scarves with the preschoolers.

Julia singing and playing with scarves with the preschoolers.

“I think the biggest benefit for the children participating in signing, rhymes, and music together as a group is the high positive energy and uplifting effects that it gives. Children can feel accomplished because they are creating something and doing it as a group creates unity and bonding for those involved,” says Julia.  “I love seeing the joy the children have while singing. I have never seen a singing child that is sad while doing it. It is a great feeling to see the children happy and enjoying themselves.”

Everyone at Lund is very thankful to Julia and the fun music that she brings into the preschool each week.  We could not offer this and so many other opportunities to our children and families without the hard work of the hundreds of volunteers we have each year.   On this first day of National Volunteer Week, thank you Julia and thank you everyone who volunteers at Lund.