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October 7, 2020 | Sossi Essajanian
So much happens during the first six weeks of school. It is the time where a solid foundation for the year is built. Children learn routines, create class promises, build community, and learn about goals and expectations. It is a time of introductions: to routines, spaces, vocabulary, and people. Building a community begins with getting to know each other: teachers and classmates. This takes time and communication and social skills are fostered in the process.
At school, teachers care for children and children care for one another. How do we show caring? How do we know someone cares? As children learn about each other, directly through questions or indirectly through interactions, they are building the foundation for relationships, which become the foundation for friendships.
With all of this is hard work, be sure that lots of emotions bubble up! The journey of The Bears has given children a chance to practice these social skills and explore emotions they may feel in a new environment as they begin the year at school.
This week, following their designs as a guide, children dressed their bears used fine motor skills to cut the fabric and string beads as well as twist pipe cleaners into glasses and bracelets.
Bears wore clothing based on their favorite color. Some had masks, glasses, necklaces, bracelets, and even shoes with laces! Each is unique and has a story to tell. As this work continues, the bears are developing characteristics, personalities, preferences. These have become vehicles for children to explore their emotions and practice conversational skills.
After all the bears were dressed, children were paired and the bears were introduced to each other. This offered children an opportunity to safely practice asking and answering questions to initiate and continue conversation as well as get to know each other.