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February 11, 2009

New Kid in Town

I received notice two weeks ago that a new student, Olivia, would be starting in our class.  I added her name to our “who’s here?” board, our job chart and our name sticks.  All of our students were beginning to wonder…is she ever going to come to school?


At circle time we would say, “Hello Olivia, wherever you are!” and several kids had asked what she looks like.  I didn’t quite understand their interest.  We have had new students start before and people had been absent.  In the past, it didn’t really seem to change a lot of our time together. 


Today was different.  Olivia and her parents walked into our class just as we were finishing our group time.  The rest of my class was deciding where they were going to work for choice time and only a few students were left on the carpet.  With wide eyes, Tucker pointed and said, “IT’S OLIVIA!”  I felt like we were in a movie and time had stood still.  The mysterious and long anticipated student had arrived and Tucker, especially, was ready to show her the ropes.  He marched right over to her, extended his right hand and clearly stated, “Hello Olivia, my name is Tucker.  It is nice to meet you!”  This is one of the many greetings we have practiced in our circle time.  I was impressed. 


I have to preface the rest of this anecdote by mentioning that Tucker is a bundle of energy.  He has a kind heart and an inquisitive nature.  Consequently, sticking to a task or controlling his body doesn’t always come naturally to him!


I was amazed as I watched him guide Olivia throughout the rest of our day.  He showed her how to use the play dough and reminded her to put the caps back onto the markers.  He even assured her that mom and dad always come back so, “really, don’t be sad.” 


The structure and consistency of our classroom was obvious today.  It is great to have a tangible moment to remind myself that my patience and persistence as a teacher pays off.  Our classroom is a safe space where new and old students feel welcome and our work as a community shows as we extend a warm welcome to our new found friends.  


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