One of the biggest upsides of working at St. Martin's is that my team and I got alter parts of the Jumpstart curriculum with my team to fit our preschoolers. We were able to experiment a little bit and tailor the curriculum to fit our classroom.
The first few basic things we wanted to work on were familiarizing them with the alphabet and numbers. After making a "Let's Learn the Alphabet" chart with (surprise) the alphabet, I looked online on YouTube for some creative ways to teach preschoolers how to count to ten. Turns out one of the first things you find when you type "Counting Numbers" in YouTube is this little gem:
It looked easy enough with sheep and a farm in the background, so I got to work. I painted a posterboard, drew some sheep, and stuck some velcro tape in the right spots.
Luckily, the kids really loved it! They were all really excited to stick the sheep on the chart. In fact, so excited that they were upset when I told them they had to take turns. It was like a beautiful two-in-one package: learning numbers and taking turns!
Later on, one of the bigger final projects I worked on was a "Shooting Stars" poster. My team and I had used the "Let's Learn the Alphabet" chart for a while to go over the letters of each preschooler's name. Before long, many of them caught on that A was for Alana and sometimes different preschoolers' names began with the same letter. Once they caught on, I lost their attention.
Circle Time became more of a chaotic mess before because we weren't teaching them anything new! That's when I figured I should make some kind of chart that has everyone's names written out. With the help of Lucy, my site manager, for the idea and Vivian, a fellow Jumpstarter, for making the stars, I was able to bring this new chart into the classroom:
Reusable and sparkly! It was a hit. Now, for those preschoolers that already knew how to spell their names, they could see it in print. And for those that didn't, they could learn that the A in the beginning of Alana isn't the only important letter.
All in all, it's been a good year at St. Martin's and I hope to return next year! It'll be great to take all that my team and I have done this year and build on it. The dream is that before long, the preschoolers at St. Martin's daycare won't be all that different from those at Dumas and Wadsworth, other preschools in Woodlawn.--Daisy Lu, undeclared first-year in the College