Begin with Yourself
Beginning Reflections
Could One of These Teachers Be You?
Verna is a positive, upbeat teacher. She loves children and conscien-
tiously pursues her curriculum goals, following the latest information
available to preschool teachers. She continually tries out new activities
from curriculum books. Verna has her ups and downs but says her class-
room runs well. Increasingly, she’s struggling to meet all the new early
learning guidelines, and she’s unsettled, with nagging doubts about her
teaching. Many of the activities she plans don’t seem very meaningful to
the children; they just rush through them, eager to move on to the next
thing. A small voice inside her triggers closer examination and ques-
tions about what’s going on.

Isabel has been a family child care provider for two years. She offers a
relaxed home environment with a variety of toys for the children to play
with. She believes in letting kids do what they want. During the last few
months, however, Isabel has been taking classes that suggest she needs
to be offering more learning activities for the children in her care. She’s
saving money to buy some new toys and thinks she’ll get some work
sheets and craft books to try out these new ideas, but she’s not sure how
they will work.


12 Chapter 1
Michael teaches in a government-funded preschool program. Much of
his time is spent completing paperwork—forms, reports, lesson plans,
and assessments. He diligently tries to make his classroom reflect the
standards and regulations that are requirements of his job. His time
with children is tightly scheduled, and he has developed effective class-
room management techniques with a variety of entertaining routines.

Recently he has begun to feel the joy he used to have working with kids
is being overshadowed by all these required tasks. When he’s honest
with himself, he admits he isn’t building real relationships with the
children. He doesn’t really understand how all of the paperwork con-
nects with his work with children. He’s just going through all of the
motions. Welcome to the Journey
Opening this handbook reveals a journey many providers and teachers
are on—searching for a curriculum that is more alive and meaningful
for the children and themselves while keeping up with all the current
changes in the field. As you join in this search, you have probably begun
to question by looking thoughtfully and with new eyes at what is hap-
pening in your classroom. Perhaps you are looking for support for how
to negotiate all of these challenges. Let’s see what you will discover.

Read through the list below and check what’s true for you.

Have you asked yourself why you plan your curriculum the way you do?
 Do you follow the same daily routines and curriculum plans because
it’s the way you’ve always done it?
 Do you obediently follow rules and regulations, not knowing or
questioning the reasons why they exist?
 Have you noticed that the children are restless and bored and that
you are too?
 Does your program reflect what you and the children really care