Afternoons in my room are . . . never dull. All of our on task energy is long gone. Many of us are absolutely done for the day and would probably happily nap away those last 2 hours. When I am getting “Is it lunch yet?” questions at 9:30 a.m. you can imagine what the afternoons might look like!
I teach 7 and 8 year olds. Many need more sleep, more routine, more consistency and less of a lot of things. Less stress, less upset, less worry.
Spending the afternoon immersed in curriculum racing would be an absolute guaranteed disaster. We often spend the first 20 minutes of the afternoon on location and recovery operations. Where are all of the children who haven’t made it back to the room after lunch? Who needs a quiet area? Is it general lights out and heads down for everyone? The basic questions we need to know quickly – who did what to who and are we ready to move on?
And so we try to gather back. Calm and soothe. Respond to the energy, the mood, the big emotions. We try to find a way to be together and find some happy, some joy, and meet some basic needs.
Our current recipe? Some stories, a walk outside, play time, healthy snacks and maybe . . . if we manage it, some structured activities that we know and expect: art on Tuesdays, buddy reading on Wednesdays, music on Thursdays, gratitude circle on Fridays. Some days, like yesterday, we abandon the plans and respond to the mood. We had 30 minutes of quiet drawing and colouring and played the song “Tomorrow” from Annie multiple times on the iPad because one little one needed to sing it. Over and over. And over.
When we can let these things be enough, more than enough really, and absolutely what we need and can manage, we can celebrate them.
They happen, each day, along with some other things that we know to anticipate. Like someone sleeping on the bean bag chair, someone storming out, storming back in and eventually settling, Lego wars, and the occasional throwing of things that really shouldn’t be thrown.
This is who we are and what we are ready for. And, quite wonderfully, it is often the place where we find the most beautiful and kind moments.
This is what I celebrate this week. Who we are and what we need and what it looks like each afternoon.
One child’s arranging completed at a quiet area space. A valentine cookie baked my one of our wonderful volunteers sits in the center of this piece.
Sharing, thinking and listening as we pass the gratitude stone.
A buddy reading moment.
Searching for colours during art.
And the green? It’s all about our snacks – the arranging, the serving, the eating. Sometimes we sit and eat while we play or listen to a story. Sometimes, we dim the lights and eat in silence and enjoy the much needed quiet and calm.
Helping set up the plates is a coveted job.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.