Wow it has been awhile since I have posted! And so much as had happened. In the first week of September our center shut down and all of the teachers came to work for a week of professional development. This week was spent listening to presentations and preparing our classrooms for a new year. This school year I am working in the infant room with children who are, right now, between 4 and 7 months.
I have been thinking and reflecting a lot and I probably could have written a post every single day since the new school year has started! This year I am also a mentor teacher and the new hire coordinator. Great things are happening!
Lately I have been really thinking about how to balance what a child is used to and who I am as an educarer. An example is: a child who is used to being held or in a carrier. At school we don’t use carriers and I’m not a teacher who holds children all day long. Neither one of these things is bad, they are just very different. Children come to expect what they are used to. A child who is close to a person’s body all day learns to want that closeness so spending time laying on the carpet can feel VERY different. So how do I respect what this child wants/needs and myself?
After talking to several of my mentors about this I have come up with a plan. First I have to learn when a child is telling me they really want to be held. Then I will tell them something like “you’re telling me you really want to be held. I’m going to pick you up. I will hold you for a while and then I’m going to put you back on the carpet.” I’ve been saying this for the past week and it helps me respect myself and my own limits. I just hope that the children feel respected as well. The trickiest part for me is knowing when the child is “filled up” with being held, when have I helped meet this need and when can I set them down? I feel like I might not be holding the child long enough. I hold them for a few minutes thinking their need is filled but when I set them down they get upset again. How can I tell when an infant is filled up? I’ve been trying to slow this process down and hold the child for longer. I guess I also need to learn when the child is telling me they are ready to lay back down.
My biggest take away from reflecting about this is: everything takes time. I need to give the children time to get used to new things and I need to give myself time to learn who each child is and how they communicate with me.