Friday, 7 October 2016

What do you remember?

Have you tapped into your memories of your early school years to help guide your practices as an educator? 

Reception /Prep, South Australia

I have very few memories of my early childhood, but most of them are from out of school. I have two memories of year one - two memories! One was a horrible memory of not knowing that I had to hand my worksheet to the teacher. I was made to stand facing the blackboard. I'm not sure for how long. I only remember standing there crying. I was as quiet as a mouse then. I never did anything wrong on purpose. I think it's very sad that that's my only memory of my year one teacher.

Visiting my old classroom at Port Elliot 
My other memory was of the day I did my ballet exam. I felt so proud coming back to school with my hair still in a bun slicked down with gel. 

Ballet exam with my best friend Ella

I started year two when we moved to Wyreema in 1988. I have so many memories of that year. We went to the fire station and the Weis factory, and lots of other places. I remember enormous slabs of lamington which were cut into chunks for us to eat, sitting looking over the range from our teacher's backyard. There were masses of plants in the room, big sugared Easter eggs, and personalized cards at the end of the year.

Year Two, Wyreema State School
I remember absolutely nothing from year three - how sad. 

This year our company decided to implement permanent excursion forms so that with the permission of families we could take the children out of the centre whenever we wanted, and with the same ratios as were allowed within the centre. We started with one adult to every two or three children. Pretty soon the three of us were taking twenty-five children to the wetlands and the park. We also took them to the train station and watched the train go past. 

My coworkers were amazing. We took the children out eight times in the six months before I left Melbourne. We started a bush kinder in the wetlands. The children swung on trees, climbed fences, patted some huge but friendly dogs, and came back with their arms filled with sticks, their pockets filled with rocks and feathers, and their heads full of stories to tell their Mums and Dads.

On St. Patrick's Day I put a green top hat on and told stories about leprechauns while the children ate sandwiches under the trees in the playground. These are the things that I will remember. The joy and excitement that can't be contained within the confines of the four walls of a kindergarten room. 

Routine bored me when I was a child. I would wish for something unexpected to happen - anything. Sometimes I would wish for a fire alarm, just to break the routine. 

I only remember the teachers who noticed me, the ones who boosted my confidence by helping me to see who I was and what I could do. I barely remember the others, even through high school and uni. 

Every child is different and has different needs. I'd love to hear about your experiences and how they inform what you do in (and out) of the classroom. 

[This blog is completely non-commercial. I hope it's okay to include the above photos]

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