September 27, 2021 | Bridget O'Dowd
Our days are full, and few moments are without building, chanting, singing, climbing, eating, or discussing. By 1:00 p.m. students struggle to sit upright on benches, start to yawn, and generally have droopy eyes as they listen to a story.
Each student has his/her own “quiet time place.” In this space, no one else is allowed to look at you or speak with you. It is a private space. Children choose one of three ways to lay during quiet time: on your back, on your belly, or on your side. It is exciting to choose, and often change throughout quiet time!
It is also a time when our heads are spaced at least three feet apart and are staying in that place. The children enjoy the break from wearing masks and it is safer for them to have already removed their mask if they fall asleep.
Students make their towels flat, and then lay down flat on their towels. Soon, we will open up books to be available during quiet time. A child will choose a book or two to bring to their quiet time place and can read these books for all of quiet time. We talk about how we can read a book in three ways: read the words, read the pictures, or retell a familiar story. Reading is all about making meaning from text and all of these ways accomplish that goal!
Some students have much empty space around them. Others manage smaller spaces, but the rule remains: you must remain on your towel. This helps students develop spatial awareness as they care for the classroom. Some students also particularly enjoy tight spaces; it helps them feel safe.
When finished, students roll up their towels, and store them on the shelf above their backpack. They have been working hard to roll their towels neatly. “Corner to corner.” “Pinch and roll.”
Once children have rolled up their towel, they stand and wait for a thumbs up before putting it away at the shelf. This allows the teachers to control crowding at closets and make sure everyone remembers to put their mask on before walking about the room.
Children store their towel away on the shelf until the next day!
Some students sleep soundly for thirty minutes, while others may just rest their eyes for a few moments. That is alright. The goal is not sleep, but calm. We are working to help students self-regulate and restore their energy for the afternoon.
We make time for read-aloud, Math Workshop, paint introductions, games at the park, and all things in between. This time of rest is equally crucial, as it allows students to reset and recharge for what is next. How often do we as adults long for a few moments of peace in the afternoon? We are so glad to be able to offer this gift of rest to our students.
Ms. O’Dowd came to Mustard Seed in 2017, after moving to Hoboken in 2016. She found a school and a community all in one package at Mustard Seed! Having taught kindergarten in Illinois before moving to New Jersey, Ms. O’Dowd has a passion for five-year-olds. She’s delighted to be a part of the kindergarten team and loves to read and share in story with students. Her favorite moment of the day is during a good read aloud, when she looks out and sees the faces of children showing empathy and emotion in response to the story. Ms. O’Dowd’s hobbies include exploring new neighborhoods, watching BBC documentaries, traveling to visit family, and eating her way through New York City.