We are now 8 weeks into our new school year & in the last 2 weeks I think it is now possible to say that the class is finally settling down - note I didn't say 'settling in', they did that weeks ago but this year this particular class seemed to take a long time to settle down. Maybe it's because they are so young (only two 4 year olds on the 3rd September & 10 who won't be 4 until after Easter) but September seemed to be a long, hard month for all concerned. There were lots of tantrums over having to take turns or share & some screaming about transitions - the latter was a whole new experience for us & a bit of a culture shock. We had lots of tears over not being first, to turn on the light in the story room, to tidy-up, to hang up a coat, to take part in a painting activity. When after 4 weeks in 2 groups of 13 we put the class together I was convinced it had happened too soon for this class & the idea that we would start lunch/dinner & the full day of 4 hours 45 minutes in the 5th week seemed like madness.
But then, just as I was beginning to think I had lost my 'touch', things started to come together. In a day where we had screaming 4-5 times we had it once, then suddenly a couple of days went past & we realised there hadn't been any at all. Instead of tantrums & crying we heard "Get the timer", "I'll get a turn next time, won't I?".
I'm not an advocate of lining up in nursery but there are times when the children have to e.g. at tidy up time the group tidying up will line up to hear what job they have, the first few times it was like herding cats as everyone headed off in their own direction but then after a few times they began to follow each other.
The children are beginning to learn each others names, so instead of 'that boy/girl' they can talk about each other by name.
It is going to be a very different class from last year but I suppose that is what I love about this job, no 2 years are alike & it means that every day is different.
Sometimes I have to stop & reflect on far this little group of 26 3-4 year olds has come in the last 8 weeks, they have all left their parents/carers, they are embracing every opportunity offered to them, they are exploring every aspect of the playground & enjoying the company of each other. Most of all they are beginning to trust us & show their true personalities more & more each day. I'm always unsure about the wisdom of having a week off at this point in the school year & worry each year that it will unsettle all the good work that has been done up to this point but hopefully once again I'll be proved wrong & they will be glad to be back in school again next month. We begin our monthly visits to the forest next month too so that will be a whole new adventure.