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Reflection Paper

Sandra Candelas
4/17/14 Child Development 258

I had the pleasure of observing and working with the children at Pillars Child and Family Developmental Center. Mrs. Katrina is the head teacher and Mrs. Evelyn is the teacher’s aide in the Head Start program classroom where I did my forty five hours. The Head Start Program at the facility is broken up into half days. I worked for the morning classroom which consisted of 17 children. Throughout my experience I learned how a preschool classroom is structured, how to be a good speaker and how to talk to children as a teacher in different situations even during conflicts. I am still learning but I did learn many things through my field experience from Ms. Katrina’s classroom. On the first day of my pre-practicum I was nervous since I didn’t have previous experience with children or a classroom setting. I observed the teacher and the children throughout the first two days. In the beginning of every day, children arrive and every child has a sheet of paper at the table with their name on it so they can imitate their name and place it in their journals. After writing their name they go and sit with a book in circle time. The teacher assistant has a 20 number count down where children go and sit down after she is done counting. The teacher goes over the job chart where selected children have a job duty such as book helper, good morning song helper, calendar helper, weather helper, and table helpers. Then the child designated to sing would come forth and perform the good morning song and afterwards it was breakfast time, but before that children are asked why they have to wash their hands. Many children had good answers such as “you can get sick and go to the hospital” I thought that was

very cute. Children were then transitioned to breakfast by identifying shapes, letters, or colors. Breakfast is served family style were each child serves themselves and then pass it down to the next child. After breakfast, children sit in a large group where music and movement took place from 9:00 to 9:15 am. Free play, small group, and brushing teeth are usually followed after. The weather helper of the day determines whether they go outside or not. Children are allowed to go outside for thirty minutes if the weather is appropriate if not, they have more music and body movement. Story time and homework is around 10:40 to 10:55am. Children then transition to hand washing following lunch, which was from 11:05 to 11:20 am. After lunch children picked up their plate and got ready to leave at 11:30 am. I thought that Ms. Katrina is well organized and I really like her style. After having observed her for a couple of days she let me take over and I had to lead large group. At mornings when children sang the good morning song, I asked everyone how they felt and who came to school that morning. I had to lead the afternoon session where I had to sing days of the week and lead children in planning time, and then come back to read them a story which were for the most part moral stories. At first I didn’t want to make mistakes but I observed the teacher make mistakes herself. I learned a valuable lesson, that it is okay to do so and that is how one learns and becomes stronger and more confident. As days went by every time I had to lead the group more and as more time passed the teacher relied on me more. I had to memorize many songs that were lead in group time and I also applied them in my home with my children and had fun with the songs. As I worked with the children I also learned that I have to be firm with them if I want them to do something. I am a very nice person and sometimes children would test me to see how much they would get away with. So the teacher and assistant said that I had to be firm and get

into mommy mode to get them to do what I needed. Yes, it is good to be nice and respectful but when an undesired behavior is manifested then being firm in what you want is the proper way to address it. With child conflicts, the teacher would let them solve their problem but stood by them in case it got out of hand. Children were able to solve their differences by communicating to each other what they didn’t like and if one was acting as a bully the teacher would definitely correct the behavior and let them know that a certain attitude wasn’t nice. There were times where she would observe a certain behavior and not directly tell that child but pull out a book about honesty or other behavior she wanted to address and talk about the importance about the certain behavior, therefore allowing that particular child to reflect on their behavior. The teacher would also reward them for good prosocial conduct. For example, in one particular incident, two classmates during clean up where pulling on a bin to go place it back in the shelf, they tugged on the bins for a while and the teacher stood there to observe. The teacher allowed them to resolve the problem until one of them let the bin go and went to group as she heard the assistant teacher call everyone to large group time. The teacher afterwards gave the child who let the bin go a sticker and told her that she was getting it because she acted as the better person. Finally, I had a good grasp of the overall classroom experience where I got to know different children with different personalities some that matched mine, and others different from mine which was great. I learned how to handle situations and allow children to problem solve, all under a teacher’s guidance just like Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development where a child receives scaffolding from a more knowledgeable person so later they can perform a task with no help. I also acquired knowledge of how the teacher sets her observations and assessments as well as the differences between the structured and unstructured activities. I love helping children mostly the ones that need it the most do perceive myself as a very nurturing person and like for

everyone to treat each other with respect. As a teacher I want to be able to model good morals and values as well as promote safety and resiliency in children so that one day they can continue to grow as functioning members of society.