Today, my heart overflowed with excitement all day, as I was surrounded by smiling teachers and children. My odyssey at Porter Leath Early Head Start taught me many things; I learned what is it have joy, the importance of investing in young children, and how to be a good role model to them. I loved investing in the next generation and being part of the Porter Leath family!
Porter Leath’s Early Head Start Program is designed for children, birth to three years of age. It allows low-income children to receive all the necessary skills in order to be successful in the classroom. When I arrived, I was given a tour by two wonderful women; the smiles on their faces revealed how much they loved their work. There are six different rooms where children are divided, based on their ages. While on my tour of the facility, we peeked in each classroom through observation windows. I was given the choice to choose which classroom I would spend my time, and it was an easy decision. Young children are my favorite, so I chose a classroom with eight, two year olds. Two is by far my favorite age, they are impressionable and pick up on everything just by observing their environment.
Upon entering the classroom, I was greeted with smiles, both from the teachers and children. They were wrapping up circle time but I got to sing a couple of songs before we moved on to the next activity. Circle time is when the children sing songs and read books. I adored circle time because are able to learn fundamental information but in a fun, kinesthetic way. My favorite song was at the end. They sang, “_____ has their jumping shoes on,” filling in the blank for the name of a child in the circle. The teachers called on each student and while we sang and clapped our hands, they jumped and danced around. I could easily tell which children were sheepish.
After circle time the teachers and children transitioned to arts and crafts, where the children made paper-plate self-portraits. Through this activity I was able to work on help the children recognize the different features on their faces. I made it into a game; where I would point to a feature on my face, and the child would tell me what facial feature it was. Then I would point to a feature on their faces and they told me what feature it was. The kids laughed and giggled the entire time.
Next we went outside to play on the playground and blow bubbles, this was fun. The children’s favorite part were popping the bubbles, they created a game where they would pop the bubbles before they hit the ground. After the bubbles, a little girl was playing on the slide and I pretended to grab her nose and put it in my pocket. Before I could say anything, she looked at me and said “My nose! You took my nose!” It was great to see her respond quickly to my interaction, and pick up the game. The rest of our afternoon was spent dancing, listening to music, and reading a few stories.
The facility gives the children a chance at a quality education, both now and in the future. This program is the stepping stone toward success. It was a gift to be a role model to the children, at this impressionable, young age. There were several times in the day I caught children copying my moves, and repeating things I said; it was a reminder that you never know who is watching.
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