In the Classroom: The Caterpillars
written by Lead Teacher Laura Graham
Transitions and Traditions
July was a month with many transitions for the Caterpillars. Three children moved up to toddler classrooms, new children joined the room, and I became a part of the Caterpillars teaching team.
I also had the opportunity to experience my first PIC tradition with the Caterpillars: the Fourth of July parade. We walked with children, families, and teachers to Locust Walk, where all the groups came together in a large circle, sang songs, and then had a picnic snack before heading back to PIC.
The parade allowed me to get to know the PIC community in a different way that taking a tour or working in the Caterpillar room had, and made me think more about the role of traditions.
Whether the transition is a significant one such as starting a new school or classroom, or a daily one like putting away toys and getting ready for bed, transitions sometimes be challenging for young children. When we share traditions with young children, it can be reassuring and help them to feel a sense of continuity and inclusion.
Traditions can be simple - that favorite lullaby or story at bedtime or Saturday morning walk to the park. For infants and young toddlers who are still developing a sense of time and just beginning to anticipate what happens next, daily traditions provide cues that help them understand the sequence of daily or weekly events. For preschoolers and school age children, traditions can provide an active role to play in both the family and the larger community.
One of the joys of being with young children is the opportunity to create new traditions and we’ve just begun two in the Caterpillar Room. The first is making a special snack to celebrate and say goodbye to children who are moving to the toddler rooms. The second is creating a pillow with each child’s family photo to keep in the classroom, so that the infants and toddlers will have a family photo they can hold and touch safely.
Traditions, old and new, develop relationships and build community. What traditions will you share with your child?