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Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Not Broadway, But It's Close Enough For Me

     I think I secretly want to be an actress.  Or, there's at least a little bit of an actress in there somewhere.  You definitely have to be one to be an early childhood educator, that's for sure.  I am reminded of that every day as I teach both my students and my own children.  You have to not only impart information, but entertain, dazzle, and somehow get them engaged enough to retain what they are learning.

     To entertain usually means props.  Children love props.  This week, my daughter was learning a little fall poem in Mandarin, so we made leaves.  Even her little brothers got into the act!  Nobody wants to miss out on something fun!   Learning that boring poem was easily made fascinating by the addition of a few hand-drawn, child-colored leaves.

     In our parents and tots class at Language Stars*, props are plentiful.  One of the props for this week was so cute and entertaining I just had to blog about it.  My son got excited when the chef puppet came out.  (Okay, I'll admit it.  I liked the puppet, too.)  What child (and child at heart) doesn't love puppets?

My son takes his cake from the entertaining chef puppet

     At the beginning of class every week, the little ones have to answer two simple questions:  What is your name?  and How old are you?  To help in the "how old are you" department, the teacher brings out a cake.  Each child gets the same number of pieces as his/her age.  My son is used to this routine by now, so when the cake came out, he was not interested in the least.  In fact, he turned away to look at something else.  That is, until the chef came out!

     All of a sudden, he was engaged and learning again, taking his 2 pieces of cake from the puppet.  And, more importantly, he remained engaged the entire time, watching as each child took pieces of cake from the chef.

     So I think I'll take a cue from our Language Stars teacher this week.  I am definitely going to purchase a new puppet.

Thanks for reading,
Teacher Tam

*As a parent blogger, I receive 50% off our Language Stars tuition.  This doesn't affect what I blog about in the slightest, though.  I really like the Language Stars classes!
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