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T he children arrive in Ms. Breaux’s classroom at different times in the morn-
ing. When Ashley comes in with her mother, Ms. Breaux makes eye contact
with her at the door, then kneels down and greets Ashley by singing a verse from
a familiar song—“Hello, Ashley, yes, indeed” (CD track 3). Still looking at Ashley,
Ms. Breaux adds, “I’m so glad you came to school today, Ashley! We’ve been
waiting for you!” She then proceeds to greet Ashley’s mom.
Ms. Breaux plans for greeting children individually each morning because she
knows that the first few moments at school set the tone for the rest of the day
and are critical to providing continuity in children’s lives. Ms. Breaux always uses
known songs, chants, or a rhyme that includes every child’s name, because she
knows from experience that these predictable and familiar rituals make each
child feel special and included. All the children hear, “Hello! We know you, and
we like you. You are welcome here.”
At the other end of a long day, Ashley and Ms. Breaux are both tired. Ms.
Breaux is sitting on the floor with Ashley and a few other children. Ms. Breaux
sees Ashley’s mother coming through the door and starts singing, “Good-bye,
Ashley, hey, hey” (CD track 9) as Ashley reunites with her mom at the end of the
day. The song signals whose parent is at the door and provides reassurance that
Ms. Breaux will be waiting for them at school the next day.
Leo is sitting on the rug with Ms. Breaux and Ashley, but his day is not over
yet: he goes to an after-school program at a neighbor’s house. Ms. Breaux plans
her good-byes to Leo differently. She lets him know about what the classroom
curriculum looks like the next day. She often asks him to help set up one of the
activities for the next morning, thereby reassuring him that his routine at school
is safe and predictable while also giving him something to look forward to.
When Leo’s father comes through the door, Ms. Breaux sings “Hasta la vista,
Leo, hey, hey,” using words from the language his family speaks at home
(Spanish). COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL