The Start of a New Year at School – Part 1

When children come to school next week, they will be greeted at the front entrance by this hand painted dove.  I can’t imagine anything more welcoming for children than walking across this threshold to start their day at school.

This Peace Dove goes way back, and was painted by Janine, then a parent in my class – the same parent who drew children’s ideas for the Peace Quilt.  As years have passed, she has repainted the Peace Dove whenever needed.  See, parents hang on long after their child has left school, much like children do.

Janine is an artist, and her daughters were in my class.  It’s surprising (in the best of ways) how art can play such a huge role in school.  I only have three art posters in the classroom; a sun by Eric Carle, a Grandma Moses painting, and Starry Night.  That’s it.  Janine’s daughter, Juliet, always loved art, but I had no idea how much the Starry Night poster had influenced her.  When she visited MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City with her family, she was beside herself when she came face to face with the real Starry Night.  She kept telling her mom how this was in her classroom and how much she loved it.  Mom was shocked and sent me this photo:

I was shocked, too.  Juliet had never said anything about Starry Night.  I quickly learned that children learn and grow in many different ways.  Art is a visual that goes straight to the heart and the brain, much like the effect of a walk in the woods or a day by the ocean.  Words aren’t always necessary.  Never underestimate the power of art, or the mind of children.

Here is my classroom (it takes a few seconds to connect):

I love the big windows looking out onto ‘the whole wide world’ for children.  There are no bright colors, except for toys.  In case you haven’t guessed my favorite part of the classroom, here it is:

Reading books to children gives them the greatest foundation for learning.  It’s the most important (and favorite) thing I do for children.  Plus, it is exciting, fun, and develops a bond between teachers and children.  Nothing beats reading aloud!  Do you recognize the books on the bookshelf?  There is a mix of old and new, fact and fiction, patriotic, rhyming, and wordless.  The books rotate every month, plus there is always a ‘little bit of everything’.  And, nature is just a few steps away:

Stay tuned for Part 2, starting the new year at school from the teacher’s perspective.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in art, children's books, Early Education, Inspiration, picture books, preschool, reading aloud, School, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

109 Responses to The Start of a New Year at School – Part 1

  1. Wow–such a big room. At first I thought it must be a Kindergarten class. But preschool makes more sense. And how amazing to learn that a kid in preschool was so affected by the STARRY NIGHT print in your room–and carried it with her for years. Phenomenal. You never know what kids take away with them. I used to be a teacher and I applaud your efforts. Bravo.

  2. da-AL says:

    tx for sharing this. wishing all the best, Jennie 🙂 Would you be so kind as to guest blog post for my site? If you’re so inclined, here’s a link to general guidelines:

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