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Early childhood education has been my life for over 40 years. I have taught all age groups from infants to 5-year-olds. I was a director for five years in the 1980s, but I returned to the classroom 22 years ago. My passion is watching the ways children explore and discover their world. In the classroom, everything starts with the reciprocal relationships between adults and children and between the children themselves. With that in mind, I plan and set up activities. But that is just the beginning. What actually happens is a flow that includes my efforts to invite, respond and support children's interface with those activities and with others in the room. Oh yeh, and along the way, the children change the activities to suit their own inventiveness and creativity. Now the processes become reciprocal with the children doing the inviting, responding and supporting. Young children are the best learners and teachers. I am truly fortunate to be a part of their journey.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


This past week was the last week of school for our program until September.  It is not unusual for teachers to get end-of-the-school-year gifts.   Often times it is easy to see that the parent has chosen the gift for the child to give.

Before I get to this year's IDEAL GIFT, I have to show you what a colleague also gave me at the end of the school year.  She gave me a set of 10 cardboard tubes.  Three are pictured below.
They came in two sizes: 1) 90" (2.286 m) long with a 3.25" (8.255 cm) diameter hole and 2) 105" (2.667 m) long with a 4.25" (10.795 cm) diameter hole.  These are great cardboard tubes because they are long and strong.  Where did she get them?  Her neighbor is a professional fisherman and the fishing rods are shipped in these tubes.  He wanted to get rid of them so she thought of me. So if you know someone who fishes professionally, ask him or her for the cardboard tubes the rods come in.

The IDEAL GIFT this year looks a lot like those tubes.  It is pictured below.
Is it the same?  It is also a strong cardboard tube, but much smaller.  It is 18" (45.72 cm) long with a 1.25" (3.175 cm) diameter hole.  A child who has been in my class for three years (I have a mixed-age class), brought this in on the last day of school.  She said it was from her easel so I am assuming it held paper that unrolled onto the easel.  

What she said next and why it is the IDEAL GIFT is this:  "I think you can use this in your sensory table."  I was blown away.  Here was a 5-year-old child who understood what makes me tick and felt the urge to be generous.  In short, it was a tailor-made gift just for me.  I often have adults bring me things they think I can use in my sensory table, but this is the first time a child has tendered an offering.   

I, of course, accepted it graciously.  My mind began to race immediately on how to use it.  I began to think of orientations---vertical, horizontal, incline.  Maybe I will embed it in one of those larger tubes; I have embedded boxes in boxes but not tubes in tubes.  TBD.

Now I ask you: Did she or did she not give me the IDEAL GIFT?

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