On Tuesday afternoon, almost 100 Richmond Kindergarten and K/1 teachers came together in the Woodward gym for an afternoon of community building. We are each others’ community and in times like these, we must remember that there are others we can turn to for support. This September school start-up will be unlike any other and we need to be gentle on ourselves. We need to give ourselves time to transition and not feel we need to “catch up” or make up for lost time. It is what it is. The students are where they are.
Based on her dialogue with an Aboriginal elder, Marie Thom spoke about the components of a joyful classroom: building relationships, being present in the moment, the gift of time, a sense of belonging and experiencing joy.
As part of this afternoon, I shared some thoughts around playful inquiry as a means to uncover curriculum in the classroom. I highlighted examples from many K and K/1 classrooms in our district, based on work from projects in our district like the QTL Playful Storytelling project and district professional learning series like Primary Scientists and the Reggio-Inspired Mathematics Inquiry Project. I referred to the resource What About Play? The Value of Investing in Children’s Play by Susan Harris MacKay. Teachers were asked to consider what their role as a teacher and how they might nurture a stance of playful inquiry with their students. The importance of teachers engaging in playful inquiry themselves is important too! We need to be willing to take risks, try new things and be okay with things when they flop…but take the time to consider what could be done differently the next time around.
Our afternoon wrapped up with Sarah Loat discussing self-regulation, with some tips for teaching young children how to be mindful and strategies for self-regulation.
Marie and I shared some picture books, professional resources and materials at the session. A list of those items is available here: Joyful Learning in Kindergarten.
It is such a privilege to work with our youngest learners in the district and to work alongside their very hard-working teachers!