This morning we all arrived through the blue door after the health screening from Molly and Jessica. We understand that saying "good bye" or "see you later" to parents (and children) involves a wide range of emotions and that it is a challenging but important process to go through. The prepared small area in Blake Hall was a wonderful opportunity to arrive at school without possibly feeling overwhelmed by a full classroom. Here the first connections with teachers and other children were made. Children tried out different materials, such as magna-tiles, puzzles, colored pencils and stampers. In small groups we then made our way up the stairs and to the classroom.
Arriving upstairs started with finding everyone's cubby and changing into school shoes. That process will need some additional practice in the future but we also already made adaptions to the routine to better accommodate needs.
For our first day together in the classroom we decided on an open and explorative approach. Almost every area in the room got explored. Especially the building materials and message center were well-frequented. We will use the children's interest in making messages to introduce symbols, their meaning and use in the upcoming days.
In every area of the room we witnessed collaboration, communication and connections being made. The children showed open and honest interest in each other and the projects they were working on.
After the first initial time of exploration we started our first group cleanup. We use a rainstick that signals the transition from play to clean up and morning meeting. Coming together as a group will be an important part of our daily routine in the classroom.
Especially Hugh, Cate and Finlay were excited about that last part of our day; going outside! Our second room clean-up was a fantastic and impressive group effort and changing shoes from "school shoes" to "outside shoes" was a great practice for remembering and identifying. For the first time (with many more to come) we made our way down the outside stairs to the outdoor classroom. Most children were very confident in approaching the stairs by themselves while also carrying their bags. Outside, children pivoted between individual and group play independently.
What a wonderful first day! We are more than impressed with every single one, how they directed their first day, new impressions, emotions and connections. Thank you, parents, for being such a strong partner for the children and us on this journey. We are beaming with happiness and excitement!