cstravato's Pre-k World

The life of a Teacher / Student / Mother


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Play Has Changed! Why?

 

As a child I had two older brothers and a younger sister, so there was always someone to play with. We had T.V. and an Atari game system but really, we spent most of our time outside with the neighborhood kids. There were many children that lived on our road, at times we all hung out and played tag or hide-n-seek, at times we split up into groups the girls like to jump rope and play school. I remember using our bedroom window as a drive up for McDonalds. We used to make mud pie food and sell it at the drive up window with monopoly money. We often road our bikes up and down the driveway making up all kinds of different scenarios. Weekends, vacations, and summer break we were always playing outside at our house or friends in the neighborhood. Most of our parents had become friends, and looked out for us all.

Now that I have two children of my own, raising them in the house I grew up in, I think back to the way things were for us and I often wonder, why is it so different. I wonder if my parents ever knew what we were up to. I feel like we were able to go pretty much any where in our yard, on our street, in the woods with a quick I going ….   I feel like I have to watch my children whenever they are outside and not let them go anywhere I cannot quickly see and check on them.  There are very few children on our street now and we do not know very many families that live around us. I often wonder if I am just a worrywart or have thing just changed that much. Even though most of our yard in fenced in, I feel like I have to keep an eye out and teach my children not to talk to anyone who goes by. This is so different from how I grew up, we talk to everyone who went by and we did not have a fence. My boys mostly play with each other and their two cousins and we have some friends over but we are just so busy with life its hard to find the time. Since there are no children, their ages one the street, friends are always a car ride away and times have to be coordinated. When I was young, we just showed up at each other’s houses and were always allowed to stay. My boys do spend a few hours at a time outside, but when they come inside, they want to use electronics of some type. As a kid, we did not have any play equipment in the yard, just us, bikes, and our imaginations. My boys have a clubhouse their uncle helped them build, a playscape swing set, a trampoline, and now the beginnings of a ninja warrior course they are building with their father. Even with all these things to play with, they do not spend nearly the time outside playing as we did.

I think a few things have changed how kids play today from how we played as kids. My kids have each other which is great but they don’t have a neighbor hood of friends to play with like we did. With less people to interact with sustained outside creative play in limited. I also feel parents are much more cautions and protective of their children. We spend so much time keeping them safe and teaching them to be safe around people they do not know and that we don’t trust, we have taught them not to trust. Many families have two working parents causing kids to spend more time in daycare and after school programs. Many families myself included rely on town sports as a way for children to interact and play together. However, this is very scripted and adult directed. Sports are very important to social development but it is not a substitute for open-ended imaginative social play. Many children do not even go outside after school or on the weekend to play, they stay in and watch T.V. and play video game for hours on end. Some video games and some T.V. have their value and can help children’s development in some areas. However, without a balance of open-ended social play, adult directed, and the electronics, I worry about our children’s futures. Are we raising a generation that is not able to think creatively, problem solve, and socialize with other?


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Relationship Reflections

 

Relationships come in many shapes and sizes. Not all relationships are created equal. Some relationship we need to survive everyday. Others we need at certain times in our lives to continue or change our journey. Some relationship last a lifetime other are blip on the radar of life. All our relationships we have experienced positive or negative have had and will continue to have an impact on our lives and who we are in some way. Choose relationships wisely and learn from all of them.

Family and Friends

I see family and friend as one category because my family are my friends and my close friends have become my family. I feel family and friends are a critical relationship to my survival. Without the love, support, understanding of my family and friends they are many challenges in my life I may not have been able to overcome. I feel the most important characteristic of family and friend relationships in reciprocal support and investment in each other. If we are able to listen to each other’s problems, give and accept advise, care and be cared for, love and be loved, we can make a positive difference in each other’s lives. There are time were these relationships are challenging. We do not always see eye to eye on every issue or circumstance. However, the important component isn’t that we always agree which would be impossible, but that we are able to respect and love the other person enough to apologize and forgive when needed, listen and no give unwanted advise when needed, encourage and support as needed, and be willing to compromise. With out the support and encouragement of my friends and family I would not be able to succeed in my personal or professional life. With a solid support system at home, I am able to go to work every day with confidence and compassion for others.

Colleges

Colleges are a different type of relationship than friends and family. My colleges past and present are a resource for me to depend on for support in the providing the best education to my student’s possible. Having positive college relationships makes a difference in the enthusiasm of going to work every day. When colleges are able to be respectful, supportive, and collaborate, the work environment is one that allows for the maximum potential of growth. When work environments are, negative moral and quality are low.   I find it very challenging to work with people who are negative and unsupportive toward others. When you can work with your colleges as a team you can freely shared your concerns, needs, and challenges and expect to receive guidance, compassion, and support. As a teacher, I find positive relationships with my colleges are essential to providing positive quality instruction in my classroom. If the environment the school is negative, that negativity can make its way into your classroom and have a damaging affect on students learning. It can be challenging to always have a positive relationship with all colleges. We are not going to always agree on the best way to approach all topics. The key is listening, supporting, challenging, and begin compassionate to one another. I do not feel I need to be best friends with all my colleges nor to I expect them to all want to be my best friend. I do feel we need to treat each other with respect and compassion and remember we all want what is best for our students.