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A Meeting of the Bears

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.

“I’m not making my necklace symmetrical.”

“We have to look at the map.”

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.

“I like to play in the story basket, wedgets, and books. What do you like to do?”

“I like to paint, draw. Do you like books?”

“Yes, I like to read them.”

 

“Do you like my shoelaces?”

“They are so awesome!”

“‘I hear something,’ says bear! Let’s look through the window to see what it is. It is the church bell.”

Sossi Essajanian

Teacher, Sky Class

Sossi Essajanian is excited to continue her teaching and learning journey at the Mustard Seed School. She began teaching at the United Nations International School where she worked with children and colleagues from around the world. This inspired her to take a primary teaching position abroad in Nicosia, Cyprus, where she lived and worked for two years.

Ms. Essajanian has a passion for supporting children’s social/emotional skills and learning through a loving and caring classroom community. These are built on creating shared understandings and opportunities for children to identify and express their feelings and of those around them. She believes in creating experiences through pair and group work where learning blossoms through social experiences.

Ms. Essajanian also enjoys reading and talking about books and continues to pursue her second passion: editing. She’s worked in various editorial capacities in newspapers, magazines, and books. She was recently excited to serve as the development editor of a children’s book about engineering and is looking forward to leading some tinkering investigations of her own with her students!

In her free time Ms. Essajanian runs, swims laps, and likes to take long walks to explore the world around her.

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