So That's True After All...

So, if you're going to school to be a teacher, you might hear one day in your Child Development class that young children can have trouble with their daily routine being disrupted.  Or that they really need to go outside as much as possible to burn some energy off.  Or that they will sometimes act unusually due to a coming weather change or a full moon.

And you will of course believe it, but it will be until two out of the three of those factors occur in one three hour period before you really, really believe it.

Take a day like today, for example.  A day where you are having a parent meeting during the kids' lunch hour, so all of the parents come in and sit in the room while the kids are getting ready to go to lunch (which is a big change).  While you are conducting the meeting, the kids go off to lunch with your associate teacher and aide (change). Then you decide not to play outside, for a variety of reasons (another change).  The reason you put forth is that you really need to make some progress on your prekindergarten skill screening, and this is indeed true.  However, the real reason is that you are just tired of being so hot out on the playground all the time.  (It's September 30, people.  Don't you think we could come out of the high 90s now?)

So you skip the playground and bring them in to do inside games (change), which your associate teacher leads while you get some assessments done (change).  By the time this is over, 85% of them are doing complicated contortionist maneuvers on the carpet, and can't sit still for another minute.  As a result, you send them straight to centers without doing any of your regular carpet routines (and I'm not talking gymnastic routines here, of course - I'm talking about calendar, the pledge, weather, etc.) (Change)

During center time,  all of these changes start to meld together and combine with the huge amount of energy that they did not disperse with on the playground, making something very large  Kind of like Room Environment Frankenstein, with an uncontrollable, indefatigable will of its own.  By about ten minutes into center time, it all starts to break loose.  The children at the playground table break into coordinated yelling routines about every 3 minutes.  Three girls decide the too-open carpet area is a dance floor, and twirl around incessantly (because you forgot to put the blocks out, which would have given that space a non-dance purpose).  The duplo builders starts chasing each other around the room, making shooting sounds.  Children on every side of the room suddenly start climbing onto the tables.  One boy who is usually (platonically) friendly to all decides he really, really likes one of the girls and you find yourself repeatedly stating, "We hug our friends at school, but we don't kiss our friends at school".  A child has an accident on the bathroom floor, leaving a large puddle in there behind her.  While you are seeing about calling her parent, another child comes out of the bathroom with his shorts, etc. down at his knees to report the large puddle - having no qualms at all about being quite naked.  Not realizing at first what the problem is, you ask him  about two or three times to go back in the bathroom, and being the obedient fellow that he is, he does.  But alas - the large puddle is still in there, every time he goes in, he comes right out again - still naked.   At the clean up signal, everyone in the room just starts screaming.

And on and on.  From that point on, you abandon all plans to get another constructive done, and move into "corral" mode.  There is no song with with to "shake their sillies out", nor is there finger plays active enough to contain their energy.  You just corral them through the remainder of the day until you corral them out the door.

And then you sit down and rest and think about how tomorrow (not matter how hot it is) you'll do everything following the routine, just like those other days (except today).

Barbara  – (30 September 2010 at 17:43)  

Isn't it funny how we forget that until we make all those changes and then bop our foreheads while we think, "Oh, yeah, that's why we don't do that!"
And I hope this doesn't happen to you, but one year we had temps in the 90s during the three days before Thanksgiving vacation.

Sarah  – (1 October 2010 at 07:23)  

For the initial catalyst to the chaos... cannot STAND for parents to just come 'hang out' in the room. Yes, yes, I tell them, you are ALWAYS welcome, but, no, not really, b/c it throws the room into a TIZZY! Had one mom who would show up to pick up her son a few minutes early... and bring the dog into the classroom. Oh, no, you aren't bothering us in the least. I'm just trying to pass out these papers from the office that I forgot and answer 52 questions while 13 children are crowded around your dog.

Yep, I get that.

kdildine  – (4 October 2010 at 09:12)  

Sounds like you needed Joe Scrugg's, "Wiggle in My Toe" from the Late Last Night album. Kids get to wiggle major body parts: toe, foot, knee, arm, etc in a more structured manner. A must for preschool aged kids and pretty fun for anyone watching. I have a copy if you are interested. I LOVED the album as a child.

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