Too Strict?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by NDeBa, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. NDeBa

    NDeBa Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2010

    I am 24I Have an Associate degree in Liberal arts with a concentration in Early childhood and sociology.
    I recently interviewed for a Associate Teacher position at a Daycare for Preschool acge 2.9 to 5. It was a mixed class. I had already done a formal interview and was there again so they could watch me play with the children and meet the lead teacher.
    The lead teacher was older than I and I was told she was old fashioned. I was there for about an hour and was not pleased with the way the teacher interacted and taught the children or her rules.

    One of the things I did not like was her block area rules... The children are not allowed to build anything above thier wastes and when the play with small light weight toy cars (not matchbox but the cheaper ones) they have to "keep them in their hands at all times and drive slowly." I found this out because i built a tunnel that was about a foot or two long and asked the children i was playing with if they could push the car through the tunnel and get it to come out the other end. As soon as the teacher saw this she came over and took it apart and put the car into the childs hand reminding him that was not allowed. After that they were driving their cars up a tall block and letting it drop down the other side but i noticed when she came near one of the boys made sure he kept it in his hand and didn't let it fall so im guessing that was not ok either.

    In my opinion and based on everything I have learned in school this is restricting childrens play and not good for their development. I agree children need limits and should not be flinging cars across the room or building towers and letting them fall on their friends.. but I have taught preschool and allowing them to do these things was never a big saftey issue.
    The teacher was not very smiley or friendly and I did not see her show affection to a child once while I was there. She insisted that they wisper durring clean up and if they were caught using there regular voices that was not ok.
    I can only imagine what she is like when the boss is not there..
    I hope I am wrong but I am concerned.

    A child can learn so much from building with blocks or pushing a car things most people don't even consider...
    And Children today are so limited to time they have at home and chances to explore the world nowadays that daycare is so important to their development

    WHen they took me out of the class and asked what I thought I didn't know what to say. I took a minute and said honestly she is too strict for me.. they couldn't even push a car through a tunnel. They said they were afraid of that and asked if I wanted to try the infant room...

    But I'm sooo frustrated that she is even a teacher!!
    I needed to vent and get some opinions and deff and advice!
     
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  3. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    We also have pretty strict block rules. We don't allow them to build buildings taller than their shoulders - or whoever has the shortest shoulders in the group. So if one child is sitting, his shoulders are much shorter than a standing child's. This is because I've had more than one occasion of a child getting bonked in the face, resulting in bloody lips, black eyes, a bloody nose, and once, a loose tooth was knocked out. Yes, it was already loose, but still. New rules - short towers for everyone's safety.

    As far as the car rule, I can see your point, but I bet her rule stemmed from them pushing cars into each other, into buildings, or under the feet of people walking near the block corner (you know, when they push hard and let go, those cars go far). My only car rule is that you can't crash them into anything, not each other, not the wall, not block towers, and they must stay in the block corner....so you can't push hard and let go into the general room.

    Not that I'm on the teacher's side...because the other problems (no smiling, no affection, excessive quietness) seem to hint at the deeper issues....but just looking at it from another angle!
    Kim
     
  4. NDeBa

    NDeBa Rookie

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    I see what you mean and I think restrictions placed because of issues in the past is understandable but I think it was more of a general feeling in the room and lack of excitement and warmness.
    Also they were playing with the cars on a carpet and the tunnel was actually built over a foam mat which doesn't alow the cars to pick up much speed. And I believe they can be told not to push the cars too hard and be carful with them... I just never saw it as a big issue in my class before so seeing this teacher have such a restrictive rule didn't make sense to me.
    I will add I am very easy going and that may be why this upsets me so much. I think that kids should be allowed to experiment and learn while supervised what is ok to do and what isn't... like pushing the car lightly vs flinging across the room. Let them think about things and give them a chance to make the right choice and you will be suprised that at 3 or 4 they know what is oka and what isn't without being told. They do need reminded and they do get carried away but they are smart and sweet at that age most of them don't want to hurt their friends or cause trouble.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 26, 2010

    She's not interviewing for the job, you are.

    I'm guessing that her rules all came as a result of something-- that's how most rules evolve.
     
  6. NDeBa

    NDeBa Rookie

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    This post isn't about my interviewing for a job, that was just the situation I was in when I experienced this treachers environment its about how to teach preschool children and developmentaly appropriate practice.
    You are taught not to be the way this teacher was when you go to college and get a degree.. so why is she teaching?

    Not all teachers make rules for good reasons and they are usualy the ones that shouldn't be teaching, thats the point.

    I care about the kids not about the job.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to come off so short; the phone rang and I hit return.

    But my point is twofold.

    First, she wasn't on an interview. So it was an almost typical day for her, except that she was being observed by you. Some teachers really hate observations by anyone. You have no idea what happened in that class the day before or the week before of the month before. The rules may have been tightened as a direct of something you're totally unaware of. So perhaps the height limit on the blocks was so she could see over all the blocks to see everyone in the room. Or because the day before one had gotten too high, tumbled over onto a child's head and caused an injury of some sort. Or because towers that are too high are too likely to become projectiles.

    What works on paper or in theory doesn't always work with a class of 20 (or in my classes, closer to 40) kids. Sound educational practice is wonderful. But the safety of the kids trumps other considerations.

    Second: what you saw was a tiny little snapshot of her day. Maybe she had a fight with her husband that day or was preparing to declare bankruptcy. Maybe they're foreclosing on her house today. Maybe she found a lump in a place where no lump should be. Should those things effect her teaching? NO, of course not. Would it be possible to totally sublimate any of that? Take it from me, the answer is no.
     
  8. NDeBa

    NDeBa Rookie

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    I get waht you mean I really do but I Honestly did not pick up that kinda vibe from the room, the boss or the children. They described the two preschool rooms they have as completly opposite one was light and easy ging the other was very structured and they described her as old fashioned. She was very authorative and the way she spoke to the children was short, it just reminded me of a boot camp like setting. I agree it was only a snap shot and more time in the class may have made me feel better about her and the classroom but I do doubt it.
    Thank you though because if it is possible I may ask to visit again and see if maybe I was to quick to judge because if she is more affectionate and happy twoard the children then what I saw then Maybe there is hope of compromise and understanding... or a piece of mind for me at the least :).
     
  9. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I have 3 boys of my own and can tell you for a fact that ANY type of "innocent play" can get out of hand in a hurry if you're not careful. Kids don't have to fling a car across the room for it to be too much - maybe two boys were laying on the floor pushing cars and one decided to push his across the floor, hitting the other boy in the face. I can see why it would be easier to just say "Alright, from now on, cars must stay IN your hand at all times."

    My youngest son is 7. Two years ago, he and another boy in K class got in an argument over a toy or center. The other boy raked his fingers down my son's face and the scars from that incident are still clearly visible on his face. Now, I could have caused a lot of problems for the school and the teacher because the kid responsible had exhibited this behavior before, but I know my son was partly responsible too and - even if he wasn't - there is nothing the teacher could have done to prevent what happened. However, not all parents are that understanding or considerate. All it would take is one incident and an enraged, ranting parent to make any teacher decide a "zero tolerance" rule was better than the alternative.

    As for your feelings about the teacher and the classroom environment, some of that is understandable and legitimate. However, will all due respect, some of it simply isn't your business. It's her room, not yours and you have no idea what history has led to her demeanor and rules.

    I guess I've always looked at things a little differently, but in my undergraduate days and (especially) now with my teaching experience and education, I realize full well that academic experience doesn't come close to ACTUAL experience in any job. As Alice said, a LOT of what you and are taught in our education classes looks great on paper, but simply isn't practical in an actual classroom with 30 different personalities. The trick is to figure out what can be implemented and what may need to be set to the side as an interesting concept for discussion, but not really applicable to the classroom.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, a concrete example that occurred to me as the kids were arguing on their way to religion class:

    Let's say that Johnny is no longer restricted to towers that are waist high. That means the sky is the limit, right?

    So he can use ALL the blocks, leaving none for his classmates.

    It may be sound educational practice for Johnny, but decidedly less so for the others.

    LIkewise, with the cars in the tunnel

    Preschool is about learning so many different things-- sharing, following instructions, safety-- all the foundations that other teachers will need in place so they can be built upon. So sometimes the theories that sound so good when you read all about them simply have to give way to realities.
     
  11. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    I think the best scenerio is a balance betweenthe two. I teach pre-K in an academic based program, however, in my classroom, though we do the academics we do a lot of p lay and free exploration--the name of my classroom is "the discovery zone". the children laugh and play and learn while doing so, but they are also doing it within a structured environment with rules and expectations. Do I ever let the rules slide a little bit-- sure I do, but I have no problem tightening the reins if it starts to get out of control. Children this age have difficulty with understanding the fine line between wheat is playful and what is hurtful. That is part of my job--to teach them--so I give them some freedom with in a parminter and wen they get too close to the edge I pull them back a little and by doing that over and over they begin to understand the concept of self control--- when a young child can exercise some self control--they are free to discover the world around them
     
  12. Blue

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    A lot of things about this classroom give me some red light signals, but I am too tired to list them all.

    But, I am not sure I would want to work in a center that knows a teacher is too strict, and does nothing about it.
     
  13. NDeBa

    NDeBa Rookie

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    I agree and I think the same... I am not saying I would let a child use ALL the blocks for sake of exploration, children have to learn to share but if no one else wants to play then he should be free to explore. And I don;t mean allowing him to make an unsteady block tower thats just waiting for someone to walk by and shake the gound so it falls. I mean keeping an eye on it and guiding him so he learns how to build a safer tower/ structure.
    Back to my situation, i was right there with the children they should
    have been allowed to expirement a little and have fun.
    When I play with children in a class room I ask questions that will allow the child to think about his actions and what he is doing so he can learn to do it without me there. If children are alwasy told what to do and how to do them or they will be introuble they always look for someone to tell them rather than knowing what to do themselves. And if you are going to have a rule thats strict, I believe there should be a VERY good reason and when it is broken then the children should be reminded of why the rule is there so they understand its importance. The teacher gave no reminder and didn;t even tell me why. No learnig took place in my opnion.
    If one of the children had pushed the car to hard I would have asked them if they thought that was safe and the what could happen if... questions.
     
  14. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Wow they could only whisper during cleanup? The daycare I observed at had the kids sing the clean-up song that's on Barney during the entire clean up time. "Clean up, cleap up, everyone everywhere. Clean up, Clean up, everybody do your share"
     
  15. NDeBa

    NDeBa Rookie

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    Preschool is about learning so many different things-- sharing, following instructions, safety-- all the foundations that other teachers will need in place so they can be built upon. So sometimes the theories that sound so good when you read all about them simply have to give way to realities.[/QUOTE]

    I have tried out my theories I tought preschool in a Daycare for three years. I understand the ideal is difficult to achieve but, this teaching strategy doesn't come close. Its not child based its teacher based.

    Like I said I understand the many things children need to learn but you cannot sacrifice One for the other its a compromise. Children can learn limits, following instructions, saftey and sharring and still be allowed to push a car across the floor or build a structure taller than they are.
     
  16. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    If you are still considering taking this job. Don't. Especially if you are going to be teaching in the same room as this other teacher. You two will just butt heads all the time. She sounds like she's set in her ways and isn't going to share your teaching philosophy.

    I'm not saying the other teacher is right or wrong, it just sounds like this position is a bad fit for you.
     
  17. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    That's no fun. ;)

    All that stuff is what cars in the block area is all about.
     
  18. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    How can you learn that crashing is not good unless you do it a couple times?
     
  19. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    I'm guessing an innocent bystander got hit with a flying car. (or something along those lines)
     
  20. HappyLearning

    HappyLearning Rookie

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    The heart of the matter is that this is obviously not the job for you. It's probably not for all of us to judge if she "should" or "should not be" teaching based on one short observation. Learn what you can from your experience in her classroom and move on. Find a lead teacher who you think is amazing, someone who you can learn from, someone you aspire to be like.
     
  21. NDeBa

    NDeBa Rookie

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    Thanks everyone, I agree probably not a good idea.. to work with this teacher but I'm still going to ask again about it, just in case it was a wrong impression. And I ultimatly want to be a lead Teacher not an Associate, I have everything to be certified I just need to send it in.

    And honestly I think it is our place to judge, the children don't know any better and can't speak up and employers often get stuck feeling they cannot do much about it. (I have seen it happen, shouldn't but does) They are our children and If we don't look out for their well being who will.

    My quick incounter raised red flags that concerned me, I may be wrong and hope I am but I do feel it is my place to be concerned. I strongly believe if I didn't feel that way then I should not be working with children. We are thier voice when they need us to be.

    I have no problem with teachers who excpect children to behave and listen and follow rules but they need room to grow and learn at the same time as well as feel safe secure and loved. If I did not feel that way after an hour of entering that room it is cause for alarm. Preschool rooms should be inviting even to fellow teacher/staff/parents.
     
  22. ahodge79

    ahodge79 Companion

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    just wanted to chime in here that I think you are totally right. It seems that these children are a little afraid of the teacher. I don't think you have to make a permanent rule about something just because of little problems. Where do they get to experiment? Maybe the teacher doesn't see the educational value of play. There was an article in the last Young Children about building and it encouraged them to build build build! They were standing on chairs to make it even higher. Anyway it doesn't seem that she enjoys her work and I wouldn't keep MY child in her class.
     
  23. ahodge79

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    just wanted to chime in here that I think you are totally right. It seems that these children are a little afraid of the teacher. I don't think you have to make a permanent rule about something just because of little problems. Where do they get to experiment? Maybe the teacher doesn't see the educational value of play. There was an article in the last Young Children about building and it encouraged them to build build build! They were standing on chairs to make it even higher. Anyway it doesn't seem that she enjoys her work and I wouldn't keep MY child in her class.
     
  24. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    I have to say, the acts of the teacher don't really concern me. She has her ways, and an outside person can't change who she is no matter how much they want to or think they can. She is who she is, and always will be. Right or wrong-and I do not care to decide if she is right or wrong based on one account.

    BUT............................................

    I think Blue hit the nail on the head. The Director/Admin has filled that class with children and let the teacher continue to be in control of a room. If there is anything the matter here I believe it is that the Director/Admin is endorsing the kind of atmoshpere that you are all concerned about. That is the job of that person-to work with employees. If she is doing all of the things that you are afraid she is-----it is admins' job to move her down or out.

    There are issues-but working for an admin that will let these issues continue is a far greater issue in my mind.
     
  25. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Yep, but it sure is fun to be the kid with the bloody lip (or the teacher dealing with the parent of the kid with the bloody lip) because a block tower fell on him. Or to be one of the more gentle kids who suddenly has no cars to play with because they were repeatedly crashed into the walls and none of them have 4 tires any longer. That's fun, too, heh?

    Seriously, I do encourage fun in my room, but within acceptable perameters of safety. The block corner is big enough, and has tools enough, to encouarage pushing the cars about and letting them go, without involving the walking area right next to the block area. There are many creative ways to build smaller buildings, and there are many fun ways to involve vehicles that aren't crashing.

    My kids love my block area, and it's stimulating and fun. And they treat the things in there with respect and with love. What more could I ask for?
     
  26. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    That's all part of the preschool experience.

    I had 2 different kids have block towers fall on their heads this past Friday. The kids shook it off, had a laugh, and went on playing. If a kid gets hurt we take care of it and then move on.

    When I do put our cars in the block area, (they are not always out) I have 2 boys that get a thrill out of smashing the cars into the walls and into each other. The sound of a car crash is a thrill to a 4 year old boy. It's just something in our DNA.
    However, one of these boys will always come to me complaining about a hurt finger because a car smashed into their hand. I remind them to be more careful with the cars and send them back to the block area to play. I don't ban them from the block area or take away their cars.

    I have kids fall down on the playground all the time. Do we tell them no running on the playground? No. We just remind them to be careful and watch where they are running.

    I had a kid cut another kids hand with scissors a few weeks ago. The kids had to have 2 stitches that day. Am I supposed to remove all the scissors from the room because 2 kids couldn't be careful with the scissors? Am I supposed to ban those 2 boys from using scissors? No. We talk about what happened, and remind the kids to be careful with the scissors when we see them using them.

    Sometimes life drops a block on your head. My kids learn how to cope with this type of adversity and move on.

    :D :D :D :D
     
  27. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Put Hot Wheels in your block area. They last longer and are very cheap to buy.
     
  28. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    We are going to just disagree on this one. It's my main charge to keep my kids safe. Stitches - not safe. Yep, those two boys would have been banned from using scissors while unsupervised. Sure they can use them, but only while myself or my aide is there with them. And I don't allow metal cars in the block corner, either.

    Getting hurt should NOT be a part of the preschool experience. Accidents happen, surely, but things should be set up and rules should be in place to avoid them whenever possible You don't allow them to happen unnecessarily so that kids can learn from them.

    Again, it just seems that we're going to disagree on this, and that's fine. I'm ok with many different teaching philosophies - thta just gives parents the freedom to find the choice that best suits them and their child.
     
  29. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Safety is a huge issue in my mind. No child deserves to be hurt while playing in my classroom. I have had some boys in the past who liked to smash cars into the walls. I'm not going to have my classroom walls all marked up or the toys broken by kids who can't control themselves. I've had to forbid kids from playing in certain areas. It's all about teaching them respect for their environment and for other people. If they are allowed to crash and break things at home, that's their parents business, but in my classroom it's not going to happen. There are plenty of ways to have fun without acting like little animals.
    As for the "too strict" teacher, you might be surprised to learn that she has her reasons for the things she is doing. Some children have no respect for others things or other people and it sounds to me like she is trying to teach them the way to behave in public.
     
  30. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Would you allow this to be built?

    [​IMG]
     
  31. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    I just wanted to pop into this discussion to say that one needs to remember in our "preschool" universe there are many different organizations we all fall into. There are licensed programs which have a lot of limitations on the fun that they are allowed to encourage due to the all mighty safety worship (we are licensed) and there are public school programs, Fed programs, State funded programs, private unlicensed programs and the like. All are wonderful, but not all have the same ability to toy with the idea of "safe or justified risk".

    I do love your tower mrgrinch, but licensed in my area with my regulators would mean I would have to have so many rules about the wood block safety that it would be nearly impossible to also justify building a tower as high as that. But it does look FUN!!!!! I totally see your point---and I see the other posters point. And to some degree I see the OP's point and the teacher she witnessed. All of the sides in this discussion are perfectally rational too me.

    Man, I love that tower.

    Ok, off my soap box now.
     
  32. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    When I taught pre-K students weren't allowed to build anything taller than they were. We had several students conked on the head by falling towers, and this seemed like an easy fix. Yes, let them explore, but not at the risk on injuring themselves or other students. Our cars had to stay in the cars and blocks center (I forget now what it's called) but they could push them however they wanted as long as they didn't throw the car. We were a licensed private center, and had to be really strict about how they could play.
     
  33. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    in my classroom I remind them to play nicely with our toys and if they continue to play roughly with them they won't have them anymore. If it's a safety issue I take them away for a while and then let them try agian in a few days. If it's a breakage issue, when they break the child has to throw them in the trash and we don't have them anymore. Life Lesson.
     
  34. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    You say you are 24 years old. When you've been in a classroom as long as that other teacher has, there is a good chance that you will have developed some different opinions and strategies than the ideals you have now. Ideals are fine,, just not always so practical to implement in the real world. I have days when I don't allow anything--maybe I'm over tired or in a bad mood. I am honest about it though, and I'll tell the kids I'm not in a good mood or I don't feel well and I need them to be on their best behavior. Is it ideal? NO. Do I like myself on those days? no too much. Is is their fault? Probably not. Is is part of life? absloutely. Life Lesson.
     
  35. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Yes, I would allow that tower to be built. We stand on chairs when we can't reach.
     
  36. sarzacsmom

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    I sure would,. I would use it as an introduction to problem solving safe ways to reach things that are taller than us, and lead them toward using the step stool. My kids built things like this allt he time last year--- they even figured out how to work together by having a couple of kids help steady it while another one handed blocks to the one on the stool
     
  37. amethysst

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    Feb 6, 2010

    In my center, I would probably be referred to as the more lenient teacher. But I too have rules that are meant to keep everyone safe. I have a classroom this year of 12 boys and 4 girls and I have stricter rules this year because those 12 boys have a harder time controlling their behavior without stricter guidelines....does that make sense?

    The tower is awesome and kudos to those boys for managing to build a tower that high, but truthfully in my classroom, I might have allowed it to be built that high with my help or my assistant's being right there with them...but if we were on the other side of the room engaged with other activity I would not allow building a tower that high. I just feel like it would setting up a situation where another child would get hurt. And I would not allow children to climb on a chair to facilitate building something that high....too much of a chance to fall off and break hurt themselves.

    As I tell the kids "Rules are made to keep everyone safe. It is my job to keep everyone safe. So even though we might not like the rules we have to follow them".

    There are plenty of ways to have fun without endangering another child.
     
  38. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Feb 6, 2010

    Exactly. Getting hurt does not have to be part of the "preschool experience."

    My number one job as a teacher is to keep my student safe. That is more important than teaching them anything at all. There will be some rules that limit them to some degree in the name of safety. We can still smile and have fun.

    My students are not allowed to build things above their waists because we have the heavy wooden blocks. Those things HURT.
     
  39. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Feb 7, 2010

    We have foam blocks that can be built as high as they want. For the heavy wood blocks, only as high as their shoulder. I have explained why and they understand -no problem. If anyone breaks the safety rules, they get a reminder - then if they do it again, they leave the block center for that day.
    As for cars, they know that materials in the classroom are not to be thrown and that they need to take care of things and not tear them up. Otherwise they can play with them any way they want.
     
  40. KLH

    KLH Rookie

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    Feb 7, 2010

    My block center was restricted to 4 kids. We had various types of blocks, mostly wood (double set). A particular "team" of builders would spend all morning building a city. It was amazing every day. They put animals in the various buildings and drove cars on the "viaduct". One day they built skyscrapers very tall and it fell and broke the aquarium. We closed the center, saved all the fish, and spent the rest of the morning cleaning up and finding a temporary home for the fish.

    We weren't proactive. We didn't make the rule that buildings could be no taller than the shoulder until an accident happened (no injuries). The children made the rules and they were very good rules. They wrote them down and we posted them.

    The teacher who doesn't allow cars to leave hands probably has had bad experiences with cars leaving hands (throwing, zooming into other centers etc.). We had a couple of rules that would have seemed odd to most people. They were made for the safety and well being of the children. We had relatively few injuries. Safety first always!

    BTW cutting someone's hand with scissors is not an accident. Blocks falling on heads sounds like fun until someone ends up in the hospital. Despite our rules, our kids had so much fun that they rarely wanted to go home.
     
  41. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Feb 7, 2010

    My philosophy exactly. Fun (and learning) does not have to involve injury.
     

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