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Childswork Learning Center

Education Director February 2016

February marks the approximate half way point of the year. It’s amazing how time flies along! It's a comforting thought that crocuses, daffodils, and spring are right around the corner.

It's also the time of year for placement and looking forward to next fall. We try to be reflective and responsive to our community’s needs and the needs of children and build our class offerings around that notion. This reflective process inevitably gets us thinking about how school is going and how we are supporting children through their entire experience at Childswork.

We work so hard in the beginning of the year to give children a supportive "script" for what drop off will look like. We do this because we know how important routines and clear expectations are for children and we want them to see Childswork as a safe, supportive, and predictable (to a degree!) environment. In reflection, we realize that we have not stressed the importance of a supportive script for pickup and dismissal time enough.

Pickup time can be very challenging throughout the school because classes dismiss at various times and with various dismissal routines. We want to be respectful of classes that are still in session and children who are in school for a longer day. After a full day of work, children may not be able to self-regulate as well as they can during their morning class time.

I would like to encourage families to utilize some of the things we know work well for setting up supportive and clear expectations for children. At drop off time, students have a set of "jobs" or routines that they do each morning. This often includes arriving at school, washing hands, taking care of personal belongings, a sign in job of some sort, and maybe one classroom activity or choice before saying goodbye. The same concept could work for pickup time. A conversation with your child about what they want pickup to look like and what you want pickup to look like is a great place to start. If you choose to remain at school after pickup time, make sure to be clear about what activities are options. In this way we can guide children into appropriate choices. Running through the hallways, wrestling, or being very loud outside classrooms makes an already challenging time of the day even more so - the expectations we hold children to during the school day should be carried over to every part of the campus at all times of day.

We want our families to be a part of the whole Childswork Community and to find ways for children and parents to extend relationships beyond the classroom. As the weather warms up and spring really gets going, our small playground is a great place for these after school extensions. Again, we want to make sure we send a clear and consistent message to children about what activities are appropriate for that space and what that will look like.

One of the things I think adults often take for granted is our ability to so quickly process the different "rules" culture and society have for different places. There is one set of rules for the grocery store, another set for the gym, yet another for school, and yet another for home! We shift seamlessly through those and even through the subtle nuances within them...there may be different "rules" for New Seasons grocery store at 3:00 PM and Winco grocery store at 3:00 AM. Children will be more successful in school if the same rules and expectations of behavior are consistent throughout their day on campus. I think it is important that we all work together - teachers and staff, parents and children - to help keep the message of being safe, being helpful, and being respectful universal throughout the school at all times.

Posted on February 8, 2016.
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About Childswork

Childswork Learning Center is a non-profit early childhood education school located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Since 1984, our school has served a diverse population of children and families, focusing on the development of the whole child with respect and compassion.

Childswork is a safe place for children to explore, take chances, make messes and learn through play. At Childswork we nurture wonder, we embrace joy, and we foster discovery.

Rights of Participation

No person shall be denied the services or facilities of this organization or be excluded from participation or services because of race, age, color, sex, sexual orientation, creed, religion, handicap, or national origin; discrimination of any kind is expressly prohibited.