I'm Yvonne, the principal of Taska Little Beans Montessori. Through this blog, I would like to share with you the happenings at Little Beans, my experiences as a mother of three boys as well as new insights in early childhood education while doing my Master in Education with USQ, Australia.
We were discussing about personal safety and being wary of strangers. I asked the children what they understand by the word "stranger".
Teacher Yvonne : Who is a stranger?
HL : A stranger is a bad guy!
LWK : A stranger is a robber. We must call the police when we see a stranger.
CKV : No, a stranger will catch you and cut up your legs.
CYS : Last time, a stranger steal my daddy's car.
CKV : Yes, a stranger also steals money.
LWK : A stranger is like a bad guy, but actually not.
ET : A stranger will take you away from Daddy and Mummy and make you work like a maid!
When I heard this definition, I nearly died laughing. I know that a maid's work is not easy, but to equate a stranger to working like a maid is really unexpected. I wonder if my two maids are working so hard that ET actually feels bad for them?
Anyway, I explained that a stranger is someone that we do not know. He can be good or bad, but if we don't know the person, it's better to run away from him. Most seem to know that they cannot accept gifts or treats from strangers. It is our duty to protect our children especially in this present society.
This is a funny incident which I would like to share with you.
MJ and I were sitting down and he looked at the two rings at my fingers. He stared and stared at them and then he asked,
MJ : Teacher Yvonne, who gave you the rings?
TY : My husband. (he's matured enough to understand the meaning).
MJ : Why did he give you two rings? (prior to this, he told his mother about my two rings and he wondered if they were given by two husbands!!!)
TY : Because he loves me!
MJ : How many husbands do you have?
TY : I have only one husband and both rings are given by him.
MJ : My mummy has only one ring. Why you have two?
TY : Well, my husband gave me one before we got married and one more when we are married.
MJ : (very deep in thought, then he breaks into a smile). Next time, when I grow up and marry CL, I will give her two rings too! One before we get married and one when we marry - just like Teacher Yvonne.
I burst out laughing. MJ is indeed observant!!! Lucky CL - she'll get two rings and her sister will only get a silver ring from another admirer. Children - they observe, adapt and emulate, so we have to be careful with what we say and do.
It has been a long one month, and finally last week we managed to take the photos of the children for our Birthday Chart.
How was the first month? Challenging, actually as the family of Little Beans is much bigger compared to last year. Especially so with the 3 year old group. We started last year with only 3 children, with a teacher and two assistants. This year, we expect to start off with only 5, but happy to say that now we have 10! Unfortunately, there is only a teacher and an assistant. Needless to say, things were a little chaotic. The children could not settle down that easily - we practically had our hands full! Must look for another assistant after Chinese New Year...
Now, things are more settled now, but two or three children still cry in the mornings. However, they are not fearful of the school, their friends or the teachers. They are still very much attached to their Mums and Dads and are not willing to let go. Once Mum and Dad leaves, they are able to join in the activities cheerfully! They may seem hysterical to you early in the morning, but they seldom cry in school. No worries, Mum and Dad, your child is in good hands!!!
However, I wish to note that the settling down or transition period is very important. In Little Beans, parents are welcomed to accompany their child for as long as they wish. We want the child to feel secured, safe and comfortable. Please don't bring your child and leave immediately. He/she will be abandoned and this is not good for his/her emotional needs. Spend at least one to two hours with you child at school (no matter how busy you are) - you're telling your child that this is a nice place to be and not somewhere that you want to get away from as fast as you can.
Just imagine yourself in a new work place or new country - all alone. How would you feel??? Of course, there must be a time to let go. Once you are comfortable with us and know that your child is well-taken care off, you can leave him or her with us. He/she may still cry but as long as it's not out of fear, your child will be OK.
Back to the photographs - children just love to take pictures. And, they are so natural. They posed and smiled for the camera even though they may be crying perhaps 5 minutes ago? Enjoy some of the photos as we prepare to put them up in our classrooms!