Thursday, February 14, 2013

Physical Requirements for Early Childhood Professionals

While I was teaching my class of early childhood curriculum students today I made someone giggle...well actually today was filled with giggles for some reason...but something I did was apparently surprising to one student in particular.  I was demonstrating what not to do when teaching their first lesson in their I assumed my traditional teaching position, "criss-cross applesauce", except so they could see me I was on top of a table...which I guess my agility and grace was shocking.  

After class, my head was spinning thinking about the flexibility and other physical skills that one must possess to work with young children.  Many job descriptions for early childhood positions 
mention the following physical demands:  occasional lifting, carrying, pushing, and/or pulling; some climbing and balancing; some stooping, kneeling, crouching, and/or crawling; and some fine finger dexterity. Generally the job requires 10% sitting, 45% walking, and 45% standing. 

I think we should keep it real and let people know what they are getting themselves is my expanded list of Physical Requirements for Early Childhood Professionals:

  1. occasional lifting--baby, toddler, chunky preschooler, Scholastic book order box
  2. carrying--chunky preschooler from playground to classroom, stack of nap cots
  3. flexibility--stretching to pat the backs of two nappers while their cots are regulation distance apart
  4. stamina--Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes is easy...can you keep up with Tony Chestnut after the Bear Hunt?
  5. ability to push your pain threshold--length of time until you can get to some headache medication on a rainy day when someone brings out the box of instruments...the day after a candy holiday
  6. finger dexterity--ability to lead finger-plays, find the end of a skein of yarn, scotch tape, unknot shoe laces, and remove splinters
  7. climbing--ability to climb on a chair in the classroom to reach something on a high shelf with ninja stealth so that you are not be seen by children
  8. germ resistance--ability to stay healthy despite the dirty tissues in your pocket that do not belong to you
  9. balancing--ability to balance an adult size rear end on a child size chair
  10. standing--skill to stand upright after sitting in a child size chair or floor, more skill if you were holding chunky preschooler on your lap
  11. eye sight--ability to read books in near darkness at naptime also handy in the detection of lice
  12. alertness--need to remain upright and awake in near darkness while listening to the purring of children sleeping with an Enya CD playing in the background
  13. urinary continence--ability to hold it until you can get to an adult size potty (if not--this requires an more flexibility and balancing talent if available potty is child sized)
  14. medical knowledge--chicken pox or mosquito bites?
I am sure the list could go on and on...but if you really knew all the demands of working with young children would you still sign up?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Singing in the Rain

We are four weeks into the spring semester and it has been a wild ride thus far...strange weather and illness abound.  I am a little late posting...crazy days...but I began thinking about something from last week.

I live in Missouri and work in this part of the country one cannot think for a second that our weather can be...well normal.  Last week we started off a little warmer than normal for January but it was pleasant.  On Tuesday the craziness began...we started the day under a tornado watch...with some wind, rain and dark clouds.  When it was time for morning preschool to dismiss it was pouring...a real gully washer which prompted some children and adults to begin singing "Rain, Rain, Go Away."  This got me thinking...we as adults typically have a love/hate relationship with rain...we know that we need it but it is an inconvenience at times...I for one hate to get my hair wet in the rain or push a full grocery cart to the car in the rain.  But little they really hate the rain?  I think not...and I can list some reasons...

  1.  Singing to the rain to go away is fun...therefore...rain is needed for a little fun.
  2. If it rains you get to wear a shiny slick raincoat that might resemble a fireman's coat and green galoshes complete with bugged out frog eyes.
  3. Umbrellas are cool!  Holding an umbrella as a child is such a thrill...even if you don't hold it over your head the whole have to look to check if it is still raining every now and then.
  4. Rain makes puddles and puddles make splashes.  Moms and teachers typically try to make children avoid puddles but it is just water after all...pants will dry.
  5. Worms venture out after a rain.  Who doesn't like worms?  Well, I actually have a strong aversion to worms but I can contain my hatred of wiggly squiggly pink and brown non-arthropod invertebrate animals in the presence of a wide eyed child. 
  6. Ever notice the sounds the rain makes?  To a child it sounds better...remember the song in Bambi..."drip, drip, drop little April showers" that is rain to the ears of a child.
  7. Playing in the rain is a sacred forbidden activity...typically children will continue to play in the rain because it is fascinating...until an adult realizes they are out in the rain and calls them in to dry off, "before they catch a cold"...ruining all the enjoyment.
  8. Children notice things about the rain that as adults we tend to overlook...the streams of rain in a gutter...the washing away of dirt...the smell of the rain.  
  9. A rainy day in preschool means a different schedule...if we cannot go outside we do inside activities that are sometimes forgotten favorites that only come out on rainy days.  We don't pop in a video or turn on the tv...we use icky weather as a chance to get out activities and games for the children to enjoy...while learning.
  10. need to say more!
There is one aspect of rain that children and adults both seem to enjoy...the need to curl up and get cozy on a rainy day.

P.S. Our preschool week ended with blowing swirling snow.
Worms do not like snow.